Twitter's new replies policy causes uproar among users

Twitter has caused controversy with what at first glance seems like a slight tweak to its settings.

Twitter has caused controversy with what at first glance seems like a slight tweak to its settings.

Users have complained after the company blogged yesterday, "Receiving one-sided fragments via replies sent to folks you don't follow in your timeline is undesirable. Today's update removes this undesirable and confusing option."

This means you won't be able to see conversations between someone you follow and someone you don't follow. So if you follow TechCrunch editor Mike Butcher, and he speaks to Guardian technology editor Charles Arthur by putting @charlesarthur at the beginning of the tweet, you will only be able to see Butcher's tweets on this if you also follow Arthur.

Users on Twitter have reacted negatively to the change, with many saying it is the cacophony of noise that they like about the social networking site. Watching to see who users speak to can be a good way of finding other people to follow. And users already had the option of removing these kind of tweets if they wanted to - today's development means people have no choice.

There is still a way around the problem, with your tweets to specific people visible to everyone if you put their name in the middle or end of the tweet, instead of at the beginning.

Twitter chief executive Evan Williams responded to the furore, saying, "Reading people's thoughts on the replies issue, we are considering alternatives. Thanks for your feedback."

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