(Bloomberg) — Twitter Inc. is experimenting with creating private group conversations, part of the social network’s effort to keep people engaged and encourage them to interact with other users.
The San Francisco-based company on Wednesday unveiled Communities, groups of Twitter users who are interested in chatting about a particular topic — such as dogs, weather, sneakers or astrology, according to a blog post. Under the program, users can tweet directly to the group instead of to all their followers. Only members will be able to reply and join the conversation, though anyone will be able to see what’s being discussed in a Community, and can report possible rule violations to the company.
Moderators, which will initially be approved by Twitter, will be assigned to every Community to “keep things on track and focused.” To join a Community, for now Twitter users will have to be invited by a member or moderator.
The exclusivity-minded approach of Communities differs from Twitter’s other efforts to cultivate tailored conversations, including Topics, which allow users to follow conversations about a particular subject without joining a group.
“There’s always been a broad, weird and wonderful range of conversations on Twitter, but we haven’t done enough to help connect people who are into the same things,” David Regan, a product manager, wrote in the post. “And now, that’s changing.”
Twitter has been testing new privacy-related features to give users greater control over who can see what they post on the social networking site. That strategy shift was born out of internal research that showed many users engage less on Twitter because they don’t understand basic privacy rules of the platform. Among features the company is considering are the ability for users to edit follower lists, and a tool to archive old tweets so that they’re no longer visible to others after a specific amount of time.
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