Twitter Adding ‘Conversation Participants’ Option to Limit Replies to Tweets

At CES, Twitter's director of product management Suzanne Xie outlined some new features that are coming to the social network, and The Verge has shared details on what we can expect.

In the future, Twitter will add a "conversation participants" option on the screen where a tweet is composed. Twitter users will be able to choose between four options: Global, Group, Panel, and Statement.

The Global feature will let anyone reply, while Group will limit replies to people a Twitter user follows and mentions. Panel will allow people specifically mentioned in a tweet to reply, and Statement will presumably disable replies all together.

As The Verge points out, this will allow Twitter users to limit the spread of their tweets with a middle ground between public and private.

Twitter is also planning to add a specific conversation view that puts all of a conversation on a single screen, making it easy to sort through different tweets and their replies.

Other features in the works include list display customization, prompts for following topics, and options to make it easier to find lists.

There's no word on when these new features might come to Twitter, but the conversation participants option is slated to be added this year.


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Twitter Bans Animated PNG Image Files After Attackers Target Users With Epilepsy

Twitter has banned the use of animated PNG image (APNG) files on its platform, after attackers targeted the Epilepsy Foundation's Twitter account using images that could potentially causes seizures in photo-sensitive individuals.

The company said it had discovered a bug that allowed users to bypass its autoplay settings and enabled several animated images to be attached to a single tweet using the APNG file format.
"We want everyone to have a safe experience on Twitter," the company said in a tweet sent from its Accessibility account on Monday.

"PNGs were fun, but they don't respect autoplay settings, so we're removing the ability to add them to tweets. This is for the safety of people with sensitivity to motion and flashing imagery, including those with epilepsy."

The attacks on the Epilepsy Foundation's Twitter account occurred in November, which was National Epilepsy Awareness Month. Twitter said that it was not aware that APNG files had been used, but the bug meant that they had the potentially to be harmful, so it had decided to ban them on the social media platform.

It's unknown how many people may have been affected by the animated images, which exploited strobing light effects with malicious intent. The Epilepsy Foundation said it had filed criminal complaints against the accounts believed to have been responsible.

In addition to the seizure risk, Twitter said the APNGs also used up a lot of data and in some cases could be a direct cause of app crashes. As such, from now on only GIFs will be able to animate images.

Twitter also said that it would look into building a similar feature in the absence of APNGs, such as adding alt-text to GIFs, which will help make them more accessible to people who depend on screen readers to navigate the internet.

Tag: Twitter

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Twitter for iPad Updated With Redesigned Interface and Multi-Column Layout

Twitter today updated its official Twitter app for iPad with a redesigned interface that makes better use of the iOS device's larger screen.

The new Twitter interface on ‌iPad‌, first spotted by Applesfera

Up until now, Twitter on ‌iPad‌ adopted the exact same interface as on the iPhone, which meant ‌iPad‌ users were presented with a single timeline with two big white unused spaces on either side of it.

Fortunately, the update sees Twitter for ‌iPad‌ ditch the single timeline layout of the previous version and replace it with a multi-column view that works in both portrait and landscape mode and puts a lot more content at the user's fingertips.

If the design looks familiar, that's because it's pretty similar to the Twitter web app layout. The menu bar has been relocated from the bottom of the screen to the left side of the timeline, while trending topics and other variable content appear on the right side of the timeline.

Unlike third-party clients, Twitter has seemingly opted to keep things simple in its official app, as there's no way to customize the three-column view to display things like additional timelines, direct messages, or mentions. But the update at least means the additional screen real estate of ‌iPad‌ is no longer being under-utilized.

Twitter on ‌iPad‌ is a free download available on the App Store, while existing users of the app can update to the new version today. [Direct Link]

Tag: Twitter

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‘Nighthawk’ Twitter Client Launches With Smart Filters, Close Friends Timeline, and More

A new Twitter client for iPhone and iPad launched today that aims to make it easier for users to manage their timeline and make the relentless stream of content on the social platform less overwhelming.


Nighthawk for iOS comes with several Smart Filter features that go beyond the ability to mute certain words and phrases, offering hundreds of human-curated filters for hiding tweets related to everything from politics to movie spoilers.
Your timeline should reflect what you care about, not the opaque agenda of a black-box algorithm. By default, Nighthawk displays tweets in the timeline chronologically, the way nature intended.

You're bound to come across some tweets that might rub you the wrong way, which is why Nighthawk provides tons of human-curated filters. Looking to take a break from election chatter? Add the U.S. Politics filter. Excited to see The Rise of Skywalker? Add the Star Wars filter and hide tweets with potential spoilers.
In addition to the topic filters, Nighthawk features a Close Friends timeline that surfaces tweets from users that you're likely to be most interested in seeing and hides everything else.

In that sense, the Close Friends feature is a bit like a Twitter list, but Nighthawk's developers say they've built the interface from the ground up with speed and accessibility in mind, so it should be a more enjoyable experience.

Nighthawk's developers say they're not trying to compete with or replace popular third-party apps like Tweetbot and Twitterrific. Rather, they see Nighthawk as a companion to these clients in offering users a more personal, streamlined Twitter experience when they want it.

Other Nighthawk features include rich link previews, haptic feedback, custom home screen icons, and dark and light modes that can switch dynamically with the system. The app costs $3.99 upfront, doesn't include ads and doesn't harvest user data. Nighthawk is available on the App Store today. [Direct Link]

Tag: Twitter

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Twitter Finally Launches Support for Live Photos, Allowing Them to Be Uploaded as GIFs

Twitter today announced support for Apple's Live Photos, which can now be uploaded to Twitter and shared as GIFs.

Apple first introduced ‌Live Photos‌ in 2015 alongside the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, though most social networks still do not support the format and do not allow ‌Live Photos‌ to play when uploaded.


‌Live Photos‌ are designed to add movement to still photos to bring them to life, similar to the moving photos in the Harry Potter films. When you take a photo on an ‌iPhone‌ with ‌Live Photos‌ enabled, the ‌iPhone‌ captures a few seconds of video before and after the shot to enable the movement.

‌Live Photos‌ are primarily able to be viewed from ‌iPhone‌ to ‌iPhone‌, but there are apps that can convert them into formats supported by social networks like GIFs and videos, which is what Twitter is planning to do.


Uploading a Live Photo to Twitter to share in a tweet will convert the Live Photo into a GIF that displays the animation. Users just need to select a Live Photo in the Twitter app on iOS and then tap the GIF button to upload.

Those who want to share a Live Photo but don't want it to be shared as an animated GIF can just avoid tapping the GIF button, which will cause it to be uploaded as a traditional still photo.

‌Live Photos‌ support is rolling out to the Twitter app today.


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Twitter Introducing ‘Topics’ Feature That Lets Users Follow Subjects of Interest

Twitter is set to roll out a new feature called "Topics" that allows users to follow conversations about subjects of interest, similar to how they'd follow an account.


According to an official Twitter blog post, Topic suggestions will soon start appearing in user timelines and in search, based on what they tend to look for and already follow on the social media platform.

When a user follows a topic, like a music band, sports team, or celebrity, they'll see tweets from a broad range of accounts that share the same interest.


Previously, all of the work was on you to figure out the best way to keep up with what's happening by following certain accounts, searching for it, or looking in the Explore tab for the latest. Now, you have the option of seeing the most relevant and interesting Tweets about what you care about with a single tap, and the conversation will come to you.
A Topics option already appears in the mobile app's sidebar menu, but currently just shows an introductory screen for the feature. When the feature rolls out in full, it will list the topics you've followed.


Future features will include the ability to preview the feed content of a topic before choosing to follow it, the ability to add topics to lists, and the ability to mute topics.

Twitter says that Topic suggestions will start showing up in timelines and in searches from November 13, with a worldwide rollout taking place over the coming months.

Tag: Twitter

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Instagram to Start Hiding ‘Likes’ in the US This Week

Instagram is to begin testing hiding content "likes" in the United States this week. The change will first be rolled out to a limited number of accounts in the U.S., and users of those accounts will still be able to see how many likes they got on their own posts.

The plan was announced at WIRED25 by head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, who also took to Twitter to share the news.
"It's about young people," Mosseri said during the Wired panel. "The idea is to try to 'depressurize' Instagram, make it less of a competition and give people more space to focus on connecting with people that they love, things that inspire them."

"It means we're going to put a 15-year-old kid's interests before a public speaker's interest," he added. "When we look at the world of public content, we're going to put people in that world before organizations and corporations."
Hiding likes would fundamentally change the way Instagram works, as liking photos and garnering likes is one of the platform's main features.


The Facebook-owned, photo-based platform has conducted similar trials in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. The removal of Instagram likes follows other recent user-focused changes, like the addition of a timer that shows users how long they've spent in the app, and the removal of the Instagram Activities feed.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Saturday praised Instagram's decision to bring its like-hiding experiments to the U.S., retweeting Mosseri's Friday tweet and adding the comment, "Great step."

Dorsey has previously questioned the wisdom of Twitter's own use of likes. At last year's WIRED25 summit, the Twitter chief said: "Right now we have a big Like button with a heart on it and we’re incentivizing people to want it to go up [to get more followers]. Is that the right thing? Versus contributing to the public conversation or a healthy conversation? How do we incentive healthy conversation?"

Twitter has since played down reports that it plans to kill off the like button, but has acknowledged that it continues to look at the function's use and how it fits in with the platform's aim to promote "healthy conversation."


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Twitter Issues iOS App Update to Fix Buggy Auto-Refresh Timeline Behavior

Twitter has pushed out a point release for its official iPhone and iPad app after numerous reports of buggy auto-refresh behavior began appearing on social media.

A number of users who updated to version 8.1 of the app, released last week, said that their Twitter timeline was refreshing randomly and making them lose track of what they were reading.

It's unclear what's been causing the jumpy auto-scrolling behavior – presumably whatever changes were made to the auto-refresh function were supposed to happen invisibly and update the top of the timeline so that scrolling up to see new tweets would be seamless.


Regardless, Twitter acknowledged the "frustrating" issue on Monday and asked users for patience while it looked into the problem.

This morning, the company released a fix to its iOS app in the form of version 8.1.5, so make sure you visit the App Store to update if you've been affected by the issue. Direct Link

Tag: Twitter

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Twitter for Mac Now Available From Mac App Store

When Apple announced macOS Catalina at the Worldwide Developers Conference and unveiled its new Catalyst feature that would allow iPad apps to be easily ported over to the Mac, Twitter was one of the upcoming apps shown off.

‌macOS Catalina‌ launched on Monday, and as of today, the Twitter for Mac app is now available. ‌macOS Catalina‌ is required to download and use the new app, as it is built using Catalina technologies.


Twitter discontinued its prior Twitter for Mac client more than a year ago, which wasn't a popular decision with Twitter users. At the time, Twitter said that it was ending support for the app to focus on a Twitter experience consistent across platforms, and recommended Mac users use Twitter on the web.

Because Apple's Catalyst initiative makes it easier for apps designed for iOS to be brought to the Mac, Twitter has decided to reintroduce its Mac app, which shares similarities with the Twitter for ‌iPad‌ app.

Design wise, it's in line with the iPhone and ‌iPad‌ apps, but Twitter in June said that it has all of the features that users expect from a Mac app such as multiple windows, window resizing, drag and drop, dark mode, keyboard shortcuts, notifications, and more.

Twitter for Mac can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tag: Twitter

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Twitter ‘Unintentionally’ Used Some Customer Data Provided for Account Security for Advertising Purposes

Twitter's support account today announced that Twitter used some customer email addresses and phone numbers that were provided for account security for advertising purposes, which Twitter says was done "unintentionally."

More specifically, email addresses and phone numbers were used in Twitter's Tailored Audiences and Partner Audiences advertising systems. Tailored Audiences is a feature that's designed to let advertisers target ads to customers based on the advertiser's marketing lists, while Partner Audiences is similar.

According to Twitter, when an advertiser uploaded a marketing list, it "may have matched" people on Twitter to their list based on the email or phone number the Twitter account holder provided for security purposes.


Twitter says that it "cannot say with certainty" how many people were affected, and the company has issued an apology. "We're very sorry this happened and are taking steps to make sure we don't make a mistake like this again," reads a help document.

Personal data was not provided externally with partners or other third parties, and as of September 17, the issue has been fixed and phone numbers and email addresses collected for account security are no longer being used for advertising.

Tag: Twitter

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