What we talked about a little earlier today with respect to conversations is really an evolution of work that we started doing in the middle of 2019, which is, we want to give people more control over the conversations that they start. So this was an example: in October, we launched globally a feature that allows you to hide replies if you want to.NT: So if I was [Iranian foreign minister Javad] Zarif last night, and after I tweeted “Hey, we’re not going to escalate,” Trump had tweeted back, “Actually, we’re going to nuke you,” Zarif could have muted the tweet?
KB: No, because those were quote tweets. Quote tweets are I think an important mechanic that’s distinct because me yelling in your movie theater is different than you hosting your own conversation. I think that distinction is really critical actually. Because the philosophical sort of approach we took here is, when you start a conversation, as the author of the tweet, you should have a little bit more control around the replies within that tweet, which is different than me deciding to start my own conversation.
NT: So if I want to trash someone, I need to do it in a quote tweet, not a reply.
KB: I mean, you can do both, I suppose. But the mechanics of replying to someone is different, right? You're injecting yourself into their conversation to their followers, showing up in their mentions. So I think the dynamics are different there and that’s what we were interested in, sort of creating some more control around that.
NT: Let’s talk about the new conversation threading. The simplest way to explain it, is that it takes Twitter conversations from incomprehensible to comprehensible.KB: Conversations can be quite unwieldy to follow, especially if you're trying to read a conversation that has multiple people participating and thousands of replies. It can be really hard to read and see who's responding to who. Sometimes you'll see a tweet really deep in the conversation actually is from the original author, but that's not really clearly understood. Or maybe a tweet is from someone who the author originally didn’t mention, which would be important context, but it's kind of lost in the sea with how conversations look and feel. So what we've been trying to do is really reimagine the way we display a conversation to make all that easier to read. How do we make the participants, the actors in those conversations more discernible—sort of the authoritative voices, the person who started the conversation, the person who's mentioned in it, someone you follow within that conversation, more recognizable? And all of that is packaged in this public beta app that we call Little T that we've been experimenting with the public. And we're taking the best of those annotations that we learned via research and experimentation and launching them into the Twitter app over the weeks and months to come.
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