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Twitter accidentally killed @names in replies


Twitter caused a massive uproar recently when it decided to briefly kill its long-standing @names reply system, one of its core features. The shake-up has now been rolled back and apologies issued.

Twitter for iOS users appear to have been the only ones hit by the @names massacre. Instead of appearing at the beginning of a tweet, the name of the person being replied to would appear at the top of the post in a smaller font.

The Twitterati didn’t appear to appreciate this upward shift going by the slew of negative feedback it generated. It didn’t take long for the company to try to backtrack on its move by getting rid of the change. Its Twitter Support handle later tweeted that an experiment around replies accidentally went out to everyone on iOS briefly.

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The tweet also mentioned that it got helpful feedback as a result and would continue to listen. Even Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey chimed in by tweeting that the firm was always working to simplify and make the microblogging platform better for everyone. He reiterated that the brand was appreciative for all the feedback and apologized for the mayhem it caused.

The change serves to highlight Twitter’s character limit dilemma. The site has in the past tried to formulate different ways to work within the 140-character restriction while allowing more space for people to express themselves.

By shifting @names to the top, users had more space to write words without the name itself eating up valuable real estate. Twitter may still be working on the system to refine and improve it. If so, the present @ convention may get thrown out of the window at some point in the future.