Twitter turns off threaded replies because they made conversations hard to read

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Twitter has been experimenting with threaded replies for some time as a way to potentially make replies easier to read and follow. But the company has decided to end those experiments because of user feedback, it announced on Thursday.

“We asked and you let us know this reply layout wasn’t it, as it was harder to read and join conversations,” the company wrote in a tweet published today. “So we’ve turned off this format to work on other ways to improve conversations on Twitter.”

Your feedback shapes Twitter.

We asked and you let us know this reply layout wasn’t it, as it was harder to read and join conversations. So we’ve turned off this format to work on other ways to improve conversations on Twitter. https://t.co/pA4Yd0QfyW

— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) December 3, 2020

In a follow-up tweet, the company said threaded replies made conversations harder to read and join and that people wanted more context about who they were talking to.

Some learnings:
*the new look made convos harder to read & join – we’re exploring other ways to make this easier.
*you want more context about who you’re talking to – we’re working to add this.
*you want more control – we’re iterating on our convo settings.https://t.co/UzS08x4Jcf

— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) December 3, 2020

Twitter is also shutting down its beta app, which the company called twttr, designed for experiments like threaded replies. “For now we’re turning [twttr] off so we can work on new tests to improve the conversation experience on Twitter,” the company said in another tweet. People currently using twttr will lose access for now, according to the company.

We appreciate the feedback you gave us through this run of our prototype app twttr. For now we’re turning it off so we can work on new tests to improve the conversation experience on Twitter.

If you’re using twttr, switch to the main Twitter app to keep up with what’s happening. https://t.co/xq4emx9HeH

— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) December 3, 2020

Trying to follow more than even a few replies on most tweets can be a headache (see: the infamous Twitter conversation between CEO Jack Dorsey and Recode co-founder Kara Swisher), and threaded replies were Twitter’s attempt to make tracking them more straightforward.

Twitter first signaled it was considering threaded replies back in August 2018, rolled them out along with twttr in March 2019, added them to the iOS app in January, and revised how threaded replies looked for some on iOS and the web in May. But it seems the product change was one users didn’t like, so Twitter is reverting back to its old system.

Hopefully, the company comes up with a new solution at some point. But for now, we’ll be stuck scrolling forever on high-reply tweets to figure out exactly what’s going on.

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