You can now choose who is able to reply to your tweets - here’s how the new Twitter feature works

Thursday, 13th August 2020, 3:38 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th August 2020, 4:20 pm
Have you noticed the new feature on your Twitter account? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Following trial tests, Twitter has now rolled out a new feature designed to encourage people to have more “meaningful conversations” - without the risk of strangers weighing in with abusive comments and spam.

This is everything you need to know about the ‘limited reply’ feature, including how to use it.

What’s the feature?

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Twitter users can now limit who gets to interact with individual tweets, ranging from letting everyone to comment to allowing only those specifically mentioned to reply.

The feature has been tested since May, with Twitter saying that it has “learned a lot from usage, feedback interviews and surveys” regarding how users feel about the new feature.

The power to limit tweet interactions has now been rolled out to all users on the social media platform.

What did Twitter say about the feature?

Director of Product Management Suzanne Xie wrote about the conversation settings in a blog post for Twitter.

Xie said, “Sometimes people are more comfortable talking about what’s happening when they can choose who can reply.”

The feature had been tested on a select group of users before being rolled out Twitter-wide, and Xie said that the feedback received indicated that it helped users feel more comfortable using the site.

“Some people use these settings to have more sensitive conversations about politics and social issues. Those with a lot of followers use these settings to share more feelings, opinions, and personal news,” Xie said.

She also explained that users who receive abuse find these settings helpful as well.

Xie went on, “Problematic repliers aren't finding another way – these settings prevented an average of three potentially abusive replies while only adding one potentially abusive Retweet with Comment. And, we didn’t see any uptick in unwanted Direct Messages.”

How does the feature work?

When you go to tweet, you’ll now see the message “everyone can reply” with an emoji of the world, just above the icons you’d use to add a photograph or GIF to your tweet.

This is the same no matter if you’re tweeting from a device like a mobile phone or tablet, or from your computer or laptop.

If you click on that text, you’ll be presented with three options for who can interact with your tweet:

  • Everyone, which means that anyone and everyone can reply to it - this is the default setting
  • People you follow, which restricts replies to only people who you follow on Twitter
  • Only people you mention, which means that the only people who can reply to the tweet are those who are included in the tweet with an “@” mention. If you don’t mention anyone, no one can interact with the tweet

For those who aren’t allowed to reply to a tweet, the reply icon will be greyed out.

Before tweeting, it’s worth noting that, even if you have restricted who can interact with the tweet, anyone can still view, retweet, like and quote it.

Are these other ways to protect my account?

There are ways to protect your Twitter account and tweets further, if you wish to do so.

You can make your profile private, meaning that people have to submit a request to follow you, which you then have to approve before they can access your tweets.

You can do this by heading to settings and privacy > privacy and safety > and then toggle the button that says “protect your tweets”. This protects your tweets from being retweeted as well by other users.

You can also mute replies from certain users, meaning you don’t get a notification if they tweet at you, or reply to one of your tweets.

You can do this by going to settings and privacy > notifications > advanced filters.

Here, you can mute notifications from the following:

  • People you don’t follow
  • People who don’t follow you
  • Users with a new account
  • Users who have a default profile photo
  • People who haven’t confirmed their email addresses
  • People who haven’t confirmed their phone numbers

You can pick and choose which of these accounts you want to mute, it doesn’t have to be all of them.