Posted in: Technology

Twitter blocks @replies, possibly their dumbest move yet


In perhaps one of the dumbest moves it has made so far, Twitter has announced that it is removing the ability to receive @replies to Twitter users you aren’t following, but sent from people you are.

According to Twitter “receiving one-sided fragments via replies sent to folks you don’t follow in your timeline is undesirable,” so they’ve simply switched off that ability all together, as opposed perhaps to simply offering it as an option.

The net effect is that group communication and discovery on Twitter will be crippled; no longer will we see conversations and be able to join them, as they will be filtered completely. Group discovery has been a key way for many people to find new users, and make new contacts. It’s also a great way to hold a group conversation.

You can show your disdain for the decision by Tweeting a protest message with the hashtag #fixreplies.

Update: Twitter previously offered the ability to switch off @replies not targeted at you directly. See here. Which begs the question: why strip the choice to begin with? If this was such a big issue, why not just promote the option?

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22 Responses to “Twitter blocks @replies, possibly their dumbest move yet”

  1. Lun Esex

    There was ALREADY a way to make this optional on your account. It was called the @ Replies setting at When they made this change they removed the setting, and simply forced everyone's account to the “Show me [only] @replies to the people I'm following” option. They even have a Help page describing the feature here, which is still up (at least for now):

    Way to go, Twitter. FAIL indeed.

  2. TurboFool

    There was no mention of people following you not being able to @reply to you. I don't believe this affects your ability to see people communicating directly to you. The “only” thing this affects is your ability to see @replies to people YOU'RE not following. You got that part right, though, and it's dreadful.

  3. Duncan Riley

    apol, and post amended. Ironically miss read tweets; I think are lot of people are surprised and angry here.

  4. Louis Gray

    This is another scenario of “Twitter knows best”. Remember it's disingenuous to follow thousands, and now, seeing these replies is “undesirable”. So tired of their garbage.

  5. Jeff

    Also it seems they have “filters” that will unknowingly and without warning block users account tweets from showing up in search and public timeline if these “filters” just happen to catch duplicate tweets from multiple accounts. Here's how I found out…
    I started with a personal account under my name, @jtitamer meeting new people and also starting to meet several of the owners/managers of companies I am affiliated with. I was thrilled like many about this new way of doing business. Now, I thought this was great to be able to post ads along with my daily routine of communicating with those who found interest in my tweets. However, I was concerned about being accused of spam so my thinking was to open a second twitter account and put most of the ad tweets over to that account. Not all, but most, you know. I started making some sales and at the same time I was meeting people. One case I was even able to arrange to help a lady out by phone conversation on setting up her autoresponder account. The point is, I was making friends and helping others while increasing my business. Well, it was good for a few weeks until I noticed that something seemed wrong with one of my accounts. It didn't even cross my mind that twitter could be blocking me in the way they did. Seemed they would either have given me a warning telling me to slow down my ad tweets or simply cancel my account. If either would have happened maybe I could have rescued one of my accounts from this Doom. It didn't take long but the second account was stopped from showing up in search and in the timeline. I went to do some searches on the subjects I was tweeting about and sure enough, mine did not show up any more. However there were others that were sending out duplicate tweets all day long in there. I guess now my mistake was not stopping tweets from my personal account at least fast enough, or would it still have happened anyway because my old tweets were still searchable and I just moved them over to my new business account.
    I went through support and tried a support ticket two times, once from each account and basically got the same answer. Their answer seemed to be that they “unfortunately can't help it or don't care to, and so now, although I've never in my life sent one piece of spam mail, I'm labeled a spammer I guess. Not sure what to do now, detete my account and loose over 3,000 followers on both accounts to start over? Or will they just stop me for good if I try that. I wish they could give me some better help and advice anyway. This is what the last reply from them said…

    delbius, May 12 03:57 pm:
    Unfortunately, use of advertising services can lead to this as the number of duplicate updates then cross-posted against multiple accounts leads to filtering.


    Good luck, to anybody who thinks they can have a personal twitter account and a business account.

    Jeff T.

  6. CarriBugbee

    This is horrible news any way you look at it. Twitter has officially KILLED the discovery aspect that has made it great up to this point. I will no longer be exposed to interesting new people by seeing conversations that other people (that I already trust and follow) are having with them.

    I hope to hell that they'll use their planned maintenance on Wednesday to rectify this based upon the outrage. It's unbelievable that Twitter would get rid of the one thing that makes it better than so many other communications options.

  7. Jamie Brown

    This is one of the best ways to find new followers – its like a personal recommendation from someone you trust. Also, won't it kill Follow Friday? Maybe that's the goal?

  8. anomalei

    I have a Twitter account because my brain has far too many sub-streams of thought to stay focused long enough to use Blogger lol. So this is obviously copied and pasted from my account. Please enjoy.. there is some method to the madness whether you agree with it or not! Not saying you have to like it though. I didn't think I did either until I saw the light, it's not so bad!

    From my short-blog: <<< FOLLOW ME :)


    #fixreplies You WILL GET @ replies fr people you don't follow lol Wow.. funny Twitter's live feed mechanism destroyed all possible dmg ctrl
    6 minutes ago from web

    #fixreplies DON'T BE MAD! It's all good! Twitter is trying to draw the line between “REPLIES” and “MENTIONS” Exact details in my posts!
    12 minutes ago from web

    Thx for your help @SimPhone and @juliaerickson Following you both now! Now I'm not angry about the change :) Hooray for reason! #fixreplies
    20 minutes ago from web

    That spec person @ replied to being someone you don't follow. If you do follow that @ replied person, they'll be in the feed #fixreplies
    22 minutes ago from web

    So replies ie) @ IS the 1st symbol of ur post are blocked fr ur friends feed only when they have @ replied to a spec person #fixreplies
    23 minutes ago from web

    I was not following @juliaerickson at the time we tested the @ reply function; can still get her msg in my @ feed #fixreplies
    29 minutes ago from web

    Yes @SimPhone mentions ie) so long as @ is not the first character in your post @juliaerickson And I got your reply! #fixreplies
    30 minutes ago from web

    Let's experiment. @ me a msg to see if I get it at all. E-mail me w/ your alias when you have #fixreplies
    33 minutes ago from web

    re: @robintexas It is affecting the Twitter client on my desktop, so that's one yes #fixreplies
    39 minutes ago from web

    RT @justindavey @mikebutcher Avoid Twitter's @reply change: Put other words before the first @ . Then the convo is “open” to all #fixreplies

  9. Rob James

    This is wrong, it should be an option, twitter shouldn't force people into not having options with who replies to what comment. This cuts down on overall communication, and LIMITS people and responses. BAD MOVE TWITTER!

  10. anomalei

    Once people get used to it, it really isn't that bad. There's already sites in place that can do what people want it to do. You only want to read topics or people of interest to you, you could go to sites like or

    I like the change. It'll limit the exposure 1-on-1 conversations have to the rest of Twitter. Sometimes you just want to keep the conversation between a couple people and it'll be a great benefit to those following people who reply and get replies a lot. Then, you can just read that person's reply to you instead of sifting through the other 20 replies he or she made over the last half hour.

  11. anomalei

    But then again, you could just go to your Reply feed to see that too..

  12. zaddy

    I personally don't like follow friday and have been removing people who send 50-60 follow friday tweets every friday. Its just junk. I have never followed anyone because of follow friday, I follow people because I like what they tweet about.

  13. Lauren

    You weren't able to see @replies of your friends via other friends' tweets if you disabled all @replies before, so I left mine enabled. I personally find so many @replies floating around to be annoying, but I want to be able to see my shared friends' @replies… I hope Twitter can make this a setting.

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