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Twitter Expands Test of Threaded Tweet Replies to More Users, Adds New Format Tweaks



Whats a second, isn’t this…? Didn’t Twitter already announce this?

Today, Twitter has announced that some users on iOS and web will now see its new threaded tweet replies layout, which includes a line linking replies to the original tweet.

Which is what Twitter also announced back in February.

In fact, the threaded reply presentation has been in testing, in various forms, since September 2018, so it’s not exactly new, and plenty of people have already seen it. So why the announcement today?


Well, there are a couple of changes.

First, in this new version, when you tap on a reply tweet, you’ll now get a new thread of responses to that specific comment. Reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong provided a look at this functionality early last month.

There’s also this new tweak:

Twitter threaded replies

Note that none of these tweets have Like, Retweet or reply icons – Twitter says that it’s experimenting with hiding its engagement tools “behind a tap for replies”. The idea is that by keeping them hidden, it puts more focus on the conversation itself. 

These are relatively small tweaks, but for one, they no doubt take a lot more work for Twitter’s engineers, and two, they could have a more significant impact than many would think. Simply not having the Like and retweet options immediately on screen, for example, could reduce people’s instinctive responses, and maybe, make them comment instead, and engage with the original tweet in their own way. 

The updates stem from Twitter’s experimental Twttr app, which has been beta testing various options among a selected usage group for the past 15 months. Not many of the features in testing have made it through to the live Twitter environment as yet, so it’s encouraging to see Twitter moving forward with its test of threaded replies – even if it doesn’t seem like a major innovation.

Of course, Twitter’s also working on bigger projects like Fleets, its own take the Stories format, so it’s not like we’re completely starved of tweet innovation. And as noted, these changes, while small, could have an interesting impact.

Ultimately, the data will tell the tale – Twitter says that it’s testing this new reply layout “with a small group on iOS and web to see how it affects following and engaging with a convo”. Hopefully we’ll get more insight on the experiment soon.

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New Screenshots Highlight How Snapchat’s Coming ‘Family Center’ Will Work



New Screenshots Highlight How Snapchat's Coming 'Family Center' Will Work

Snapchat’s parental control options look close to launch, with new screenshots based on back-end code showing how Snap’s coming ‘Family Center’ will look in the app.

As you can see in these images, shared by app intelligence company Watchful (via TechCrunch), the Family Center will enable parents to see who their child is engaging with in the app, along with who they’ve added, who they’re following, etc.

That could provide a new level of assurance for parents – though it could also be problematic for Snap, which has become a key resource for more private, intimate connection, with its anti-public posting ethos, and disappearing messages, helping to cement its place as an alternative to other social apps.

That’s really how Snap has embedded its niche. While other apps are about broadcasting your life to the wider world, Snap is about connecting with a small group of friends, where you can share your more private, secret thoughts, without concern of them living on forever, and coming back to bite you at a later stage.

That also, of course, means that more questionable, dangerous communications are happening in the app. Various reports have investigated how Snap is used for sending lewd messages, and arranging hook-ups, while drug dealers reportedly now use Snap to organize meet-ups and sales.

Which, of course, is why parents will be keen to get more insight into such, but I can’t imagine Snap users will be so welcoming of an intrusive tool in this respect.

But if parents know that it exists, they may have to, and that could be problematic for Snap. Teen users will need to accept their parents’ invitation to enable Family Center monitoring, but you can see how this could become an issue for many younger users in the app.


Still, the protective benefits may well be worth it, with random hook-ups and other engagements posing significant risks. And with kids as young as 13 able to create a Snapchat account, there are many vulnerable youngsters engaging in the app.

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But it could reduce Snap’s appeal, as more parents become aware of the tool.

Snapchat hasn’t provided any further insight into the new Family Center, or when it will be released, but it looks close to launch based on these images.  

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