Twitter is testing a brand new function that lets customers resolve who can reply to their tweets, the corporate introduced on Wednesday, and a few accounts are already utilizing it in some attention-grabbing new methods.

Beforehand, anyone may reply to anyone on Twitter (so long as their profile wasn’t non-public or blocked). However now, if you happen to’re a part of the take a look at, you possibly can resolve if you wish to permit replies from everybody, solely folks you comply with, or solely folks you tag — which, if you happen to don’t tag anybody, signifies that nobody can reply in any respect. Deciding who can reply to which tweet on a tweet-by-tweet foundation may change how some folks use the social media platform in important methods.

Interviews on Twitter, for instance, might be far more streamlined, and NBC’s Twitter account for Meet the Press has already proven an instance of how. Meet the Press announced an interview with NBC Information’ Andrea Mitchell and solely allowed folks it tagged within the tweet to answer — which, on this case, was solely Mitchell. What adopted nearly felt like a protracted tweetstorm, cut up between two accounts.

A part of Meet the Press’ Twitter interview with Andrea Mitchell.

Limiting how customers can work together with reside Twitter interviews does imply that emergent conversations received’t happen as simply within the replies — you possibly can theoretically nonetheless quote tweet messages even when these tweets have replies restricted, and conversations might be began that means. Nonetheless, the limitation means interviews could not really feel fairly as natural as they generally have been earlier than.

On the plus aspect, the function does make interviews a lot simpler to comply with, which might have been useful for, say, the messy #KaraJack interview between Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Recode’s Kara Swisher again in February 2019. Dorsey had some enjoyable referencing that mess by not permitting replies to this tweet:

Limiting replies may be used to assist stop the unfold of spoilers for upcoming motion pictures, TV exhibits, and video video games. On Thursday, for instance, Naughty Canine posted screenshots of its upcoming PS4 title The Final of Us Half II, and restricted replies to folks it tagged — which was nobody.

The Final of Us Half II, which launches on June 19th, guarantees to have a deeply partaking story, and the studio is doing every thing it might on social media to maintain that story beneath wraps till the sport launches, therefore the transfer to disable replies. Naughty Canine can also be attempting to cease folks from sharing spoilers from major leaks of the sport that hit the net in late April; Sony and Naughty Canine disabled YouTube comments on the latest trailer, too.

There’s the potential that limiting replies might be used extra nefariously. If politicians or public officers put up misinformation and don’t permit replies, folks wouldn’t have the ability to simply fact-check a tweet within the replies that would seem beneath the unique misinformation, the place it may do essentially the most assist in correcting the document. And apparently, the ACLU is arguing that public officers blocking replies would violate the First Modification — President Donald Trump has but to utilize the function, however it’s going to absolutely encourage debate if and when he does.

Within the case of misinformation, if the unique account isn’t permitting replies to a tweet, customers can nonetheless use a quote tweet to remark. It’s not essentially the most superb answer — a quote tweet solely seems on your feed, so a fact-check, for instance, probably received’t be seen by everybody who noticed the unique tweet — however it’s nonetheless a approach to weigh in if you happen to aren’t capable of instantly reply.

Here’s an example of how that would look. Nevertheless, keep in mind that on this occasion, the quoted tweet did permit replies as a result of it was posted earlier than Twitter applied reply blocking.

That every one stated, not permitting replies can have extra lighthearted makes use of. I’ll admit I laughed at Dorsey’s tweet that I included earlier, and Lil Nas X continued to show he’s a Twitter all-star with this great prank:

There are certain to be new concepts that emerge as extra Twitter customers get entry to answer blocking, and I’m to see how folks use the function in inventive methods. However I’m nervous to seek out out what diabolical issues quick meals manufacturers will say after they can restrict replies solely to one another.

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