What if politicians could only display Twitter replies from their supporters while stopping everyone else from adding their analysis to the conversation? That’s the risk of Twitter’s upcoming Conversation Participants tool it’s about to start testing that lets you choose if you want replies from everyone, only those your follow or mention, or no one.
For most, the reply limiter could help repel trolls and harassment. Unfortunately, it still puts the burden of safety on the victims rather than the villains. Instead of routing out abusers, Twitter wants us to retreat and wall off our tweets from everyone we don’t know. That could reduce the spontaneous yet civil reply chains between strangers that are part of what makes Twitter so powerful.
But in the hands of politicians hoping to avoid scrutiny, the tools could make it appear that their tweets and policies are uniformly supported. By only allowing their sycophants to add replies below their posts, anyone reading along will exposed to a uniformity of opinion that clashes with Twitter’s position as a marketplace of ideas.
We’ve reached out to Twitter for comment on this issue and whether anyone such as politicians would be prevented from using …read more
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