Brace yourselves, Twitter fans: phasing out of @ replies and hashtags is being tested

At-replies and hashtags are “arcane”, Vivian Schiller, head of news at Twitter, said at an American conference, with an alpha test group app showing the phasing out of @ replies.

Speaking at the Newspaper Association of America’s mediaXchange conference in Denver, Schiller said "We are working on moving the scaffolding of Twitter into the background".

When asked by Buzzfeed if replies and hashtags will disappear for good, Schiller replied “There's a lot of creative thinking going on around how to make Twitter more and more intuitive. Watch this space.”

The removal of @ replies is definitely being tested, Buzzfeed has found, with an Android alpha test group not including the Twitter handle, and just using the ‘conversation’ line to connect the response.

Twitter carries out a lot of testing, so this is not official proof that @s are a thing of the past, but combined with the hints from Schiller, there is a strong suggestion that the system may be changed.

Twitter had not replied to a request for comment at time of writing.

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