Manufacturers aren’t the only ones in attendance at CES 2020 this week, with the likes of Twitter also at the Las Vegas-based event. The social media platform wasn’t simply a bystander though, with the firm’s director of product Suzanne Xie making some announcements, the most interesting of which is the way that replies will be handled in conversations in future.

More specifically Xie noted that a change was coming to Twitter where users could have the ability to manage how replies to tweets are handled, with four different options being made available.

The different levels are:

  • Global – anyone can reply.
  • Group – people you follow and mention.
  • Panel – people you specifically mention in a tweet.
  • Statement – no replies.

While we understand the need to try to de-clutter some of the elements within Twitter to offer a more streamlined user experience, as well as ensure that meaningful conversations take place, it’s the final level above that has us a little worried.

As TechCrunch points out, having such a feature would mean that divisive people on Twitter would essentially be able to perform mass blocks on replies to a tweet that courts controversy. As such there would be no means of critiquing, and ultimately discourse would suffer.

The example that the tech site gives is that of US president Donald Trump, who could block any replies to a tweet and essentially talk directly to his own followers. Given that he is a public figure, not having the ability to prod and question the things he says on social media could add a volatile element to the platform.

Twitter is aware of the potential issues this new system may rise, and Xie noted that the company is exploring the ability to quote retweets, in a bid to stop misleading or malicious messages on the platform.

The firm also noted that a few other conversation-based features are coming to the platform, and are currently in testing in its beta app – twttr. Hopefully said tests will find a solution for any potential downsides to the new conversation tools that Twitter aims to introduce.

Things could start to get more interesting on the social media site this year.

[Image – Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash]