Interested to read that Twitter is launching new functionality on its platform that allows users to control who replies to their tweet. Users have three options, (1) everyone; (2) only people they follow; and (3) only people they mention in the tweet.
Whilst all accounts will have access to the functionality and Twitter states its to reduce the footprint of online trolls, it seems to be aimed squarely at brands (and celebrities) that like to use the platform to write, but do not like blowback via a ‘ratio party’, where folk reply.
Imagine if the President of the United States and the thousands or so most notable users turned off replies to their tweets and effectively became ‘read only’. Interest in Twitter would decline, no?
Certainly, interest in sharing and participating is human nature. An argument could be made that limiting the ability of users to participate in the public square is chilling both to a conversation-driven platform and to wider society now reliant upon 2-3 platforms for public debate.
Twitter folk have been testing this functionality since May… and know their platform far better than I, but this latest innovation appears to be yet another move away from the core strength of Twitter, the open conversation in the public square. Noting other settings available on the platform, especially for verified users, it could have a more significant impact on the long-term usefulness of the platform and reinforce the growing class system on the platform.
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