In the latest iOS update, Twitter killed the last feature that made the platform usable—the @-reply. Goodbye “don’t @ me,” hello “literally can’t @ me.” Your replies to someone’s tweets no longer factor into character count, which is good, but removing the @ all together makes your feed look confusing as hell.
Shortly after Twitter began buzzing with complaints about the update, many users reported their @-s are reinstated. (In the past hour, I lost and subsequently regained my @-replies, thank god.)
Avid users of the social platform were upset, to say the least. “Twitter looks like shit,” Gizmodo staff writer Bryan Menegus told me.
“You can’t tell who anyone is talking to and it makes untagging people a fucking nightmare,” my friend Brandy texted me. “I hated it with my life.”
“Twitter is looking for something to do so it keeps making the site worse instead of hiring people to fix the actual harassment problem,” fellow Gizmodo night editor Hudson Hongo opined. “Classic Silicon Valley—we just need to program it more.” So why did the social networking platform seem to quickly reinstate @-replies? Many suspect it was because of user complaints, but we really don’t.
Gizmodo reached out to Twitter, who directed us to a help center article about changes that Twitter has been testing since September.
“When this change launches to the public, people’s usernames will no longer be automatically included in Tweet text (like the above image) and they will no longer count towards a Tweet’s 140 characters,” the article explains.
In May, Twitter announced it would expand what you could put into a 140-character tweet, but didn’t explain exactly how these new policies—namely “@names...no longer count[ing] toward the 140-character count”—would actually be enacted.
We’re glad @-replies are back and hope they are here to stay. Now please Twitter, stop playing mind games with us. Listen to what your users want, like an edit feature. Thank you for listening and have a wonderful evening.
Update 12/9 9:19AM: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded to the complaints from users on Twitter and admitted that it was “an experiment gone too far.” We’d like to think Twitter would learn from this experience, but this is Twitter, so of course it won’t.