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Twitter says choosing who can reply to your tweet can help you feel safer online – CNET

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Twitter released new settings that gives users more control over who can reply to their tweets.
Graphic by Pixabay/Illustration by CNET

Twitter said Tuesday that it’s releasing new settings that will let users control who can reply to their tweet, a new tool the company says helps some people feel safer online.

The company started testing the new settings in May and decided to roll out the feature to all users of the app and desktop site. When you compose a tweet, users will see an option that lets them choose who can reply. You can allow everyone to reply to your tweet, only people you follow or only people you mention.

The feature could help users cut down on harassment on the site, a problem that women have complained about for years. At the same time, the American Civil Liberties Union and others have raised First Amendment concerns that the tool could be abused by public officials who block speakers on accounts meant for public conversations. There have also been fears that the settings could also create more “filter bubbles,” in which people’s political viewpoints or biases are reinforced.

Suzanne Xie, who directs product management at Twitter, said in a blog post that users can still weigh in a on a tweet by retweeting a tweet with a comment, even if replies are limited.

“Twitter serves the public conversation, so it’s important for people to be able to see different perspectives,” she said.

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Twitter’s new settings allow you to let everyone reply to a tweet, only people you follow or only people you mention.
Twitter

Twitter said users told the company they felt more comfortable tweeting because of the settings and it helped safeguard them from spam messages and abusive remarks. The settings prevented an average of three potentially abusive replies and added one potentially abusive retweet with a comment. Users sending these abusive remarks didn’t resort to sending direct messages.

Users who reported abusive tweets to Twitter are three times more likely to use these settings, the company said. During the test, about 60% of people who used the settings didn’t mute or block another user. People who controlled who can reply to their tweets also wrote longer tweets than those who didn’t use the settings.

The company said that people have also been using the settings to host interviews and make announcements. Last year, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey did an interview with Recode’s co-founder and journalist Kara Swisher on the site in what one journalist described as a “chaotic hellpit.” That’s because there were so many replies as the two were tweeting that it was difficult for the public to even follow the interview. Limiting who can reply to your tweets can prevent any unwanted remarks from coming in during an online interview.

Twitter said there are more tools in the works. In the next few months, Twitter is planning “to add an option to invite more people to the conversation after it starts, clear notifications for when you’re invited to join a conversation using these settings, and more ways to see the entire discussion.” Twitter has 186 million users who log into the site daily and can see ads.

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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