Popular microblogging and social networking service Twitter is introducing a new feature that will allow users to decide who can reply to their tweets. The new reply feature will change how users can interact with Twitter; Unlike before, anybody can reply to anybody on Twitter as long as their profile wasn’t private or blocked, but now, a user can decide who to allow replies from.
Replies can be based on everyone, only people you follow, or only people you tag — which, if you don’t tag anyone, means that no one can reply at all. Limiting how users can interact with live Twitter interviews does mean that emergent conversations won’t occur as easily in the replies — you can theoretically still quote tweet messages even if those tweets have replies limited, and conversations could be started that way. Still, the limitation means interviews may not feel quite as organic as they sometimes were before.
On the plus side, the feature does make interviews much easier to follow. However there are fears that some users, typically politicians or public officials post misinformation and don’t allow replies, people wouldn’t be able to easily fact-check a tweet in the replies that would appear under the original misinformation, where it could do the most help in correcting the record.