Suzanne Xie, director of product management at Twitter, has taken advantage of her presence at the Las Vegas CES – one of the biggest technology events of the year – to reveal some of the changes that will come to the social network throughout 2020.

And the main one of those announced will affect a fundamental aspect of Twitter: responses to tweets. If something has distinguished this social network so far is that any tweet can be answered by any user.

But this is going to change because, as soon as the update is applied, we will be able to choose who can respond (rather than read) to our tweets. As Xie explained, we will be able to choose between four options when publishing them:

  1. Global: As before, any tweeter will be able to answer our tweet.
  2. Group: anyone who follows us, besides the users mentioned in the tweet, will be able to answer.
  3. Panel: only the users mentioned in the tweet in question answer.
  4. Statement: no answers of any kind are allowed.

The company justifies this remarkable change in the Twitter experience by claiming that they do so to prevent some users from being harassed or subjected to hate speech.

But all change has a double aspect: this new format can prevent users from denying or qualifying in the ‘replies’ news that reach a large audience, or cause organizations to get used to publishing everything in ‘statement’ mode to avoid having to respond to the criticism that may be made of them.

On the other hand, even if they are not going to appear in our notification section as replies, there are still ways to generate unwanted conversation by a tweeter about their tweets: either by spreading screenshots of them, or by quoting them.

In this way, the vulnerability of the tweeters to harassment will remain almost the same. All these factors will be, Xie explains, “something we will be watching very closely as we experiment [with this new feature]”.

On the other hand, Twitter has once again ignored the call for the inclusion of the ability to edit tweets. But, as Twitter product manager Kayvon Beykpour explains, the social network has “accelerated” its pace of development and hopes to continue that pace, so limiting responses won’t be the only change we see on Twitter.

Other changes announced for this new year are as follows:

– A more prominent role for lists: users will be able to customize their list viewing, and will have access to screens that make it easier to search.

– Not only will we follow users, but also ‘topics’: Sometimes, Twitter will show us a button under a tweet that will encourage us to follow the topic of the tweet, regardless of whether we follow the users who tweet about it or no

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