Twitter said they are working on a new feature that will limit the replies that a given conversation can otherwise generate. The new feature is in the form of four options – Global, Group, Panel, and Statement – that is going to be available on the compose screen itself and will let the user to select one depending on the sort of reaction that he/ she is looking forward to.
For a conversation with the Global option, it is just about anybody who will be able to reply. The Group setting will only let those people whom the user follows or mentions to reply. Panel is the most strict version here so far as the user is expecting a response as it is only those whom the user has specifically mentioned can reply to a conversation. Lastly, there is the Statement which is simply akin to making an announcement and won’t allow anybody to reply to the same.
The director of product management at Twitter, Suzanne Xie, however, said the feature is still being mulled over and will be rolled out on a wider scale only if the initial response is favourable enough. In any case, the new feature itself is expected to be made public only later on this year with the officials refraining to commit to a specific launch window as yet.
The above feature is also expected to bring about a drastic cut in the way the platform has been used in the past when it comes to making responses that may not be to the liking of others. In fact, Twitter has often been the witness to many a bloody battle where warring groups have engaged in a duel of words that one group might find extremely disrespectful.
However, there is also the other aspect where such restrictions might lead some users enough reasons to complain. For instance, with the user having the option to restrict the people who are eligible to respond in a conversation, this can well be seen as a means to curb public participation or suppress dissent.
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The sender too can also be accused of trying to create a bubble to live in by allowing only those whom they are confident of being favourable to them to make responses. Such measures can be seen as an attempt to restrict the free flow of ideas. This again is important given that Twitter has emerged as one of the favoured platform used by politicians, celebrities and such to voice their opinions and concerns.