Twitter about to change how retweets and mentions work

Twitter about to change how retweets and mentions work

Twitter leadership has made it a goal of the last few years to be more transparent about its decision-making and to provide more detailed road maps for when new features and other big changes come to the platform. Just look at CEO Jack Dorsey’s rather epic multi-tweet Facebook takedown when he announced the platform’s political ad ban last week.

In that spirit, Dantley Davis, Twitter’s vice president of design and research, yesterday evening released a list of features he says he’s excited to “explore” in 2020. They include some fundamental changes to how Twitter functions, in particular how the retweet works and how freely users are able to pull others into their conversations with or without their permission.

While Davis says he’s “looking forward to” these features coming in 2020, he’s not officially announcing any of them — in fact, Twitter tells The Verge they’re just “ideas we’re exploring” and suggests they may not come to pass at all:

“The features mentioned are ideas we’re exploring – explorations and experimentation have always been part of our process. We’ll have more to share should we decide to move forward with any of them,” a spokesperson writes, echoing a follow-up tweet from Davis where he referred to them as “ideas he’s excited to explore.

Two of these ideas stand out, though. The first is the ability to disable a retweet on your tweet. That could help prevent its spread throughout the broader Twitter network, in the event you’re concerned malicious people or other bad actors want to signal boost it as a way to direct negative attention your way. In other words, it’s an anti-harassment feature.

Short of making your account private, which may not be in your best interest if you’re a public-facing individual (like a journalist or artist) or a bona fide public figure, this may be a useful tool in helping blunt the viral spread of a tweet you feel is being misinterpreted or wielded against you for reasons unrelated to the actual content of the message. This, of course, would not stop people from going to your profile and looking at the tweet there. But it does seem like a genuinely smart approach to promoting healthier conversations and reducing toxicity.

SOURCE: The Verge