Twitter Wants to Improve the ‘Health’ of Conversations – by Hiding Their Engagement

People are seen as silhouettes as they check mobile devices whilst standing against an illuminated wall bearing Twitter Inc.'s logo in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. Twitter Inc. may be preparing to raise its character limit for tweets to the thousands from the current …
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CHARLIE NASH

In a new Twitter app prototype currently being tested, the company completely hides the number of likes, retweets, and replies that posts receive in an attempt to improve “the health of the conversations.”

In the new prototype, users are made to click on a post before they can see the number of likes, retweets, and replies it has. While users browse through their feed, they will not be able to see any of the posts’ engagement.

The new prototype also makes Twitter “more-camera-centric,” in an effort for the platform to compete with Snapchat and Instagram, and “allows users to color code replies and rounded, bubble-shaped replies, in an effort to make them easier to read,” according to the Mary Sue.

Twitter’s Head of Consumer Product, Keith Coleman, also declared, “We’re also actually working on changing the product and changing the policies to improve the health of the conversations,” which according to NBC News, means the “takedown of accounts spreading hoaxes and conspiracy theories.”

Though Twitter clarified in a series of posts that engagement wouldn’t be removed entirely, and instead would just be hidden from immediate view, most users were not happy about the change.

According to Mediaite, users reacted “furiously.”

Commentator Andy Levy even declared, “thinking twitter can be fixed is science denial.”

Twitter has previously implemented very unpopular updates and changes, including Facebook-style feeds and a modified reply system.

In February 2016, Twitter changed user feeds to be more like Facebook, with the order of posts that users see in their timelines being chosen by an algorithm, instead of in Twitter’s trademark reverse chronological order.

News of the impending change prompted the hashtag “#RIPTwitter” to trend, which then led to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey assuring users, “I want you all to know we’re always listening. We never planned to reorder timelines next week.”

Just four days later, however, Twitter did change the timelines.

Twitter’s decision later that year to change the platform’s reply system for no seemingly good reason was also criticized, with users calling it a “mess” and “awful.”

Other unpopular and uncalled for features have included mandatory abuse filters, “Moments,” and replacing Twitter’s “favorite” button with a Facebook-style “like” button.

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter, or like his page at Facebook.

 

 

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