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Twitter rolls out new reply controls to combat trolls

In an effort to make Twitter appear much less like a cesspool, the corporate is rolling out new settings that can enable all customers to regulate who can reply to tweets. Twitter started testing the characteristic earlier this yr and mentioned the outcomes of that experiment satisfied it to make the instruments accessible to all customers beginning at this time.

“We’ve seen people use these settings to have conversations that weren’t really possible before,” Twitter’s director of product administration Suzanne Xie wrote in a blog post. “Starting today, everyone will be able to use these settings so unwanted replies don’t get in the way of meaningful conversations.”

Twitter has been underneath strain to do extra to fight continual harassment, misogyny, disinformation, and hate speech on the social platform. In current months, Twitter has cracked down on COVID-19 disinformation, hidden and labeled some tweets by President Trump, and bought Lightwell to enhance the standard of conversations. The firm has additionally been experimenting with an ephemeral tweet characteristic referred to as Fleets. And Twitter job postings point out it’s engaged on a brand new subscription platform.

Overall, this represents a bit extra aggressive strategy to product growth for a corporation that has typically been slow-footed to deal with points or to introduce new options for worry that it could face a backlash from core customers.

But that conservative strategy has allowed a rash of basic issues to fester. While many customers embrace Twitter for the open nature of its service, that additionally means anybody can wade right into a dialog by merely replying to a tweet. The result’s that customers can face a swarm of offended tweets from strangers and bots that flood their mentions.

With the brand new settings, customers can be requested to select from three choices when they’re about to put up a tweet:

  1. Allow anybody to answer (this can stay the default setting).
  2. Limit replies to individuals you comply with.
  3. Restrict replies to customers you particularly point out.

If both 2 or three are chosen, Twitter will place a label on the tweet and the reply button can be grayed out. While that performance limits replies, it nonetheless permits anybody to retweet and just like the tweet.

According to Xie, the power to regulate replies has led to new codecs corresponding to internet hosting interviews or conducting panels. Participants are much less fearful about being buried underneath floods of tweets, and the feed stays cleaner for individuals following the dialog.

“These settings help some people feel safer,” she wrote. “People tell us they feel more comfortable tweeting and more protected from spam and abuse.”

She additionally confused that different individuals can nonetheless see the tweets and react to them by beginning their very own conversations by way of retweets. Likewise, Xie mentioned the experiment confirmed that folks would go in quest of these different viewpoints in the event that they knew a dialog had been restricted in a roundabout way.

“Twitter serves the public conversation, so it’s important for people to be able to see different perspectives,” Xie wrote. “We’ll keep working on making it easier for people to find the entire discussion through retweets with comments. Also, we’re trying out a new label to make it more obvious when these conversation settings are used.”

The firm is constant to develop the brand new reply options. In the approaching months, Twitter intends to create a method for customers to ask individuals into conversations.

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