The platform is testing four new features that will empower users to control who can respond to their posts
Twitter is a source for memes and misinformation, and a cesspit of right-wing trolls and die-hard royalists that I can’t tear myself away from. In renewed attempts to combat its reputation and widespread criticism, the platform is testing a handful of new features that will allow users to control conversations.
The proposed plans – announced at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Los Angeles yesterday – offer four ways to “tailor” tweet replies. In the first instance, dubbed ‘Global’, anyone can reply as normal, the second – ‘Group’ – just enables followers or those mentioned in the tweet to respond, while the final two are stricter: ‘Panel’ means only people tagged can reply, while ‘Statement’ empowers a user to block all replies.
Some people have criticised the proposed ‘Statement’ feature, suggesting that it could further the spread of fake news, emboldening users to post misinformation without being challenged.
“We want to build on the theme of authors getting more control,” said Twitter’s VP of product, Kayvon Beykpour, referencing a recent development that allows users to hide unwanted replies to their tweets.
A spokesperson for the company said Twitter wants “to help people feel safe participating in conversation”, while head of conversation Suzanne Xie added: “What if we could actually put more control into the author’s hands before the fact? Give them a way to control the conversation space as they’re actually composing the tweet?”
She continued: “Right now, pubic conversation on Twitter is: you tweet something everyone else in the world will see and everyone can reply, or you can have a very private conversation in a DM. So there’s an entire spectrum of conversations that we don’t see on Twitter yet.”
Social media platforms have come under increased pressure recently to curb bullying and toxicity online. Instagram has rolled out a number of new features in the past year, including using artificial intelligence to detect offensive comments and enabling users to ‘restrict’ others without going as far as blocking them.