Twitter Will Soon Let Users Limit Their Tweet Audience

Last year in October, Twitter’s head of product, Kayvon Beykpour said in an interview that he along with his team is looking for ways to allow audience restriction on tweets.

While talking about the growth of ephemeral messaging, Beykpour said he is interested in giving users more control. There are several dimensions of ephemerality and various apps are using it at different levels. Whereas dimensions like giving control overseeing and participation can be critical.

This week at CES presentation, director of product management, Suzanne Xie showed a process still in the development phase that will let Twitter users select the audience for their every tweet, from the compose window directly.

The new feature will give four different options to define the audience. This includes:
  • Global: All Twitter users can reply to the tweet
  • Group: People you follow or mention can reply to a tweet
  • Panel: Only the people directly mentioned in the tweet can reply to the tweet
  • Statement: no one can reply to the tweet
It is expected to be rolled out in the coming few months and can be potentially used in various cases. Like Beykpour said, if there are thousands of people, it is difficult to directly talk to someone specifically. Live chats are difficult through tweets, therefore, defining the audience might help.

Interview-style discussions would be facilitated when an audience is limited to only the tagged people who can reply to a tweet. Often celebrity interviews are spammed using the dedicated hashtags.

The new audience restriction feature could also be used by users who host twitter chats, allow only the followers to reply to chat. Twitter chat can also be separated, first allow only the tagged people to reply and then in the second half, let everyone participate in it.

It might be against Twitter ethic in a way as the platform allows everyone to have a say. But on the other hand, it could make Twitter discussions easier by eliminating the extra noise.

People suffering from cyberbullying or other abuse can also benefit from it by limiting the replies. Also, share your thoughts as "Statement" without any interruption. Though people will still be able to tag you in their Tweets where they could respond to your tweet you have limited the audience.

However, giving more control means it could grow abuse as well. As the audience will be limited, there will be no counter-argument. Brands or political leaders could allow only the people who are in their favor to respond. This can lead to presenting fake statement popularity, misleading many.

Twitter also looked at the potential misuse of the new feature. However, the company has a stance that people can quote tweet to share their views even if they cannot reply to it.

Twitter said it will begin testing the new feature with a small set of users in the first quarter of 2020. It will only be possible to see the actual problems once it is fully implemented.

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