Twitter sometimes understands you need to change your tweets after the fact. On Tuesday, the company declared a new feature that allows users to restrict who can respond to specific tweets retroactively. According to a Twitter spokesperson, the thinking is that sometimes users don’t realize their tweets are going to draw heat until it’s too late.
“This update could benefit people who may Tweet something that receives unexpected attention and unwanted replies,” explained the spokesperson. “We’ve learned Conversation Settings help some people feel safer by limiting these unwanted replies so they can participate in more meaningful conversations, while still allowing people to see different points of view.”
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) July 13, 2021
This expands on an earlier feature, released in 2020, which allowed users to decide who can reply to their tweets before sending them. The update essentially lets users edit the “who can reply” setting on their tweets after the tweets are already out in the world — through the Twitter employees who tweeted about the new feature studiously avoided using the E-word.
You can now change your conversation controls *after* you’ve already tweeted. So for example, if you decide after tweeting that you want to limit replies to only people you follow.. you can! https://t.co/7jinE3uHlF
— Kayvon Beykpour (@kayvz) July 13, 2021
According to Twitter, this new edit-replies feature is immediately available on iOS, Android, and the web. Notably, Twitter verified that it also applies to old tweets. In other words, users can go back and retroactively edit the reply settings on tweets dating back years.
This added bit of control should, at least in theory, make Twitter a less aggressive place for all users, both being harassed and those receiving valid criticism.