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Twitter finally copies an Instagram feature it should have had ages ago

You can add 150 people to your circle

Twitter finally copies an Instagram feature it should have had ages ago
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

Twitter debuted a new feature called Circle last night that might help you shitpost better. This function, available to select users on Android, iOS, and the web, will let you tweet stuff to a restricted audience of 150 people.

This is very similar to Instagram’s Close Friends feature that allows you to share a Story to a select number of people.

Prior to this feature’s announcement, you had to lock your account to share your tweets with just your followers. But now, you can ‘tune’ your audience for certain tweets.

This feature was due for a long time; there was no way to share your thoughts with a limited number of people. Last year, a Twitter designer shared the concept of having a set of “trusted friends.” Now it’s officially called Circle.

Some people might even draw comparisons with the defunct Google+ social network, which allowed you to create circles of contacts to share stuff with, based on your interests.

So how does this work?

As you can see in the GIF tweeted by the company, you have to create a circle by adding Twitter users to it, and select your circle every time you tweet if you want to share something only with them.

Currently, you can make only one circle with 150 people in it. You can include anyone — even people who are not following you — in that circle.

It’s unclear if I’d see someone’s tweet on my timeline if they include me in their circle, and I don’t follow them. We’ve asked Twitter for clarification, and we’ll update the story if we hear back.

Twitter said that you can’t remove yourself from a circle, but you can mute a conversation. That sounds annoying if I have to do it for every tweet.

Going private

The company clarified that with this new feature, you can’t tweet whatever you want and expect to get away with it. Twitter’s platform rules still apply for tweets posted to your circle. So anyone can report these tweets for abuse and spam, and the company may take actions on those posts or your account.

Twitter’s moving more towards the concept of private tweeting. So instead of dumping all your hot takes on one timeline, you can post different things to different sets of people.

Last year, the firm introduced subreddit-like Communities for people to post about shared interests.

The circle feature is for posting more generic tweets, but to a limited number of people you trust and feel safe expressing certain things.

We’ll have to wait and see how these features evolve (if and) when Musk takes over Twitter, and applies his own ideas of free speech.

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