Twitter users can now choose who is able to respond to their tweets as the social media platform rolls out new conversation controls.
The tool enables users to select one of three options as to who can reply to a tweet, everyone, as it standard on Twitter currently, only people the poster follows, or only people mentioned in the tweet.
It has been in testing among some users since May but is now being rolled out to everyone on the platform.
The social media giant described the update as a way to give people “more control over the conversations they start”, adding that “sometimes people are more comfortable talking about what’s happening when they can choose who can reply”.
Twitter has been repeatedly criticised over its policing of harassment and abusive content on the platform.
The social media firm said initial feedback on the new replies tool had found that users felt better protected from spam and abuse, and felt more comfortable expressing their thoughts on an issue.
Suzanne Xie, Twitter’s director of product management, said the platform also had plans to ensure conversations were not stifled by limiting who can reply to specific tweets.
“Twitter serves the public conversation, so it’s important for people to be able to see different perspectives.
“We’ll keep working on making it easier for people to find the entire discussion through Retweets with Comments,” she said.
Also, we’re trying out a new label to make it more obvious when these conversation settings are used.
“We’ll continue to update these Tweet settings based on your feedback.
“In the next few months we’re planning to add an option to invite more people to the conversation after it starts, clear notifications for when you’re invited to join a conversation using these settings, and more ways to see the entire discussion.”
Seyi Akiwowo, founder and chief executive of UK charity Glitch, which campaigns to end online abuse, said of the announcement: “The new Twitter conversation controls is a great step in the direction around giving users more agency on their platforms, digital citizenship and digital self-care.
“We hope the new controls will hopefully help people feel comfortable to be more expressive on Twitter, particularly given recent global events and discussions around racism and misogynoir.
“When we tested the controls, we were also inspired and encouraged when seeing other digital citizens use the controls too.
“The new controls will normalise setting digital boundaries, digital self-care particularly for communities disproportionately impacted by toxicity and online abuse.”