After announcing that it would put a ban on all forms of political ads on its social media platform, Twitter has now said it is going to test run a new feature that will allow its users to control who can reply to their posts and even completely block replies from other users to their tweets.
“We want to help people feel safe participating in the conversation on Twitter,” the company said.
This move by the social media platform comes at a time when there is increased criticism of social media platforms of not doing enough to prevent “cyber-bullying”.
Twitter had previously already added a feature that gives the users the freedom to hide any replies to their tweets.
Details of its most recent feature that would be put to test were unveiled by Twitter at a presentation at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas.
One from four different settings for replies can be chosen by users according to this new feature that which the company plans to put top test early this year. The four options available for users are:
Global – allow anyone to respond
Group – allow replies from people the user follows, or mentioned
Panel – allow replies from people mentioned
Statement – not allow any replies
In recent times, there has been increased criticism of social media companies about their lack of pro-activeness in addressing issues of online harassment on their platforms which has resulted in firms and governments introducing and implementing measures to tackle the issue.
In December last year, video sharing social media platform YouTube had announced that videos that “maliciously insult someone” based on “protected attributes” such as race, gender identity or sexuality will no longer be allowed on its platform.
An independent watchdog that will write a “code of practice” for tech companies was proposed to be set up by the United Kingdom government in April last year.
A promise to increase the “health” of public conversation was made by Twitter’s chief executive Jack Dorsey in 2018.
As part of its efforts to tackle abusive behavior, a feature which allows users to hide certain replies to their tweets was launched by the company last year.
“Everyone should feel safe and comfortable while talking on Twitter,” Suzanne Xie, director of product management at Twitter, had said in a blog post at that time. “To make this happen, we need to change how conversations work on our service.”
“We already see people trying keep their conversations healthy by using block, mute, and report, but these tools don’t always address the issue,” a Twitter employee had said earlier this year when the earlier launched feature was in development. “Block and mute only change the experience of the blocker, and report only works for the content that violates our policies.”
(Adapted from BBC.com)