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Twitter takes the fight to the trolls with reply-limiting functionality

The social media platform hopes to give its posters the power to keep threads from being derailed by limiting who can reply to tweets.


Anyone who has used Twitter for a long enough time will understand that random internet trolls can hijack and steer conversations away from the original poster’s intent, or even worse, attack and harass others on the platform. In an effort to go on the offensive against reply trolls, Twitter will slowly begin to roll out changes that allow original posters to limit which accounts can reply to their tweets before posting.

Once this new functionality is rolled out, users will be able to select who can reply to their tweets from a list of options that include: everyone, only followers, those mentioned in the tweet, or no replies at all. While this change could possibly lead to the creation of Twitter cliques or echo chambers, the shift in policy will likely lead to a reduction in harassment and negativity.

For years, users have been asking Twitter to help improve the level of discourse on the social media platform. The public-facing social media experience can vary wildly depending on the poster and some users are disproportionately attacked or harassed more than others. Up until now, the platform did not offer much for users to combat such replies other than the ability to hide replies one at a time. With some tweets exploding with thousands of replies, asking users to filter them on a one-by-one basis is insanity.

Reply-limited tweets will still be visible to the public and anyone is still able to quote the tweet if the account is public. Twitter's director of product for conversations, Suzanne Xie, said during a press event at CES, “It allows us to create a whole new format for conversation that didn't exist before."

Twitter staff says that these new reply-limiting features will begin to roll out in the coming months, depending on user feedback during limited-access trials from users. Hopefully, this can be a change that makes the platform more appealing to those who avoid posting due to online toxicity.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 8, 2020 3:15 PM

    Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Twitter takes the fight to the trolls with reply-limiting functionality

    • reply
      January 8, 2020 3:33 PM

      I wouldn't mind adding options to turn off replies if the profile picture was the default, or being able to turn off replies if accounts are newer or don't have a certain number of followers. For the latter, maybe 100 follower minimum. I don't know. Not sold on that but I think there's more that can be done. Good first step, though.

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