In 2020 Twitter plans to let users to ban retweets, mentions, and more

Yet another announcement from Twitter that is likely to kill engagement on the platform.

As part of its constant drive to improve conversational “heath,” Twitter is proposing more changes that are likely to drive down user interaction and engagement on the platform.

Twitter’s vice president of design and research, Dantley Davis, said the changes will be coming in 2020 and will allow users to restrict retweets, mentions, and distribution on their tweets.

In total, Davis laid out four main changes that will be coming next year and will allow users to:

  • Block retweets on their tweets
  • Block mentions of their account unless they give permission
  • Remove mentions of their account from specific conversations
  • Restrict the reach of their tweets to specific hashtags, interests, or friends

If widely adopted by users, the changes will limit the overall spread of tweets on the platform. In particular, the option to prevent tweets from being retweeted could stop many tweets from going viral as they start to gain traction.

“I believe giving more control to users will help create a healthier Twitter and reduce abuse,“ Davis said as he announced the planned changes.

Davis’s reference to a “healthier Twitter” reflects Twitter’s drive to “improve the health of the public conversation on Twitter” – a goal that the company described as its “highest priority” in its most recent earnings report. Since releasing this earnings report and making conversational health a priority, Twitter’s shares have plummeted by almost a fifth.

These upcoming features are some of the many changes Twitter is making to push conversational health, regardless of the impact it has on user engagement.

In its latest transparency report, Twitter said it had locked and suspended 105% more accounts in 2019. These account suspensions included parody accounts, independent journalists, and the basketball team the Houston Rockets.

And last month, Twitter announced plans to prevent likes, retweets, and replies on some tweets from President Trump and other world leaders – a measure that’s likely to have a significant impact on the platform’s overall engagement given the propensity of Trump’s tweets to go viral.

One of the most illuminating things about these proposed changes from Davis is that average users don’t appear to be that interested in features related to conversational health. Instead, as one of the most popular replies to Davis’s thread points out, these users want a much simpler, yet long-requested feature change – the ability to display tweets in chronological order by default.

However, given that Twitter has ignored this feature for some time while repeatedly pushing conversational health, these users are likely to be waiting quite a while longer for this much-requested change.

Tom Parker

Tom Parker is a head contributor for Reclaim The Net and provides news and analysis on how we can promote free speech, stop censorship, and protect our personal data online. [email protected]