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Gather your ‘flock’: Twitter’s close friends feature is now in beta

We still aren’t sure if or when Twitter will release the Flock feature. However, it’s certainly something to watch out for.

twitter flock screenshots
Image: Alessandro Paluzzi / Twitter

If you’re an avid Twitter user, it wasn’t too long ago that you witnessed Twitter’s failed experiment with Fleets, a feature that resembled Instagram’s Close Friends.

Currently, Twitter is developing a feature that lets users control who can see their tweets. The feature was first announced in July 2021 and was called “Trusted Friends.” Now, Twitter is reportedly using “Flocks” as a name placeholder.

Along with the Trusted Friends feature, Twitter tested a feature that would allow users to upvote and downvote tweets, a common feature on various social networks like Reddit.

Below, we’ll discuss this new Twitter feature, how it works, and what to expect in the future.

What Is Twitter’s Flock Feature?

Twitter’s Flock feature lets users curate a list of chosen contacts to send certain tweets out to. A reverse engineering expert, Alessandro Paluzzi, discovered code within the Twitter app that confirmed reports that the Flock feature is currently developmental.

https://twitter.com/alex193a/status/1484377272731590656

Paluzzi has kept track of Twitter’s progress regarding Flocks and has posted updates on his profile. He says that users can choose up to 150 people to include in a Twitter Flock, and only those select few can view or reply to their tweets.

With the Flock feature, users will be able to tweet with less discretion, which could be fun (yet potentially damaging — considering nothing on the internet ever goes away).

Because users are in full control, they can also remove people from their Flock as they see fit, without fear that a removed user will get a notification. This Flock feature could grant some users a heightened sense of security and privacy.

Of course, keep in mind that while this privacy-focused feature may limit who can see your profile, it may not fully spare a potential employer from seeing your tweets or having data discussed in the Flock make its way onto the web during a breach.

Take Facebook’s security breach, which exposed 50 million users, for example. Even the biggest, most popular social networks can let data security slip.

Twitter’s Flock Feature: Privacy Concerns

Ultimately, Twitter’s Flock feature would give users more control over who can view their tweets. According to Paluzzi’s insights, Twitter would prevent other users from finding out they’ve been removed from a Flock, so there’s no need for awkward, in-person explanations.

A key feature of Flocks is an enhanced sense of security. However, it is a bit of a double-edged sword. How private are Flocks? How can Twitter guarantee users that anyone outside the Flock cannot see their tweets?

This could significantly impact the app itself and how or whether users tweet. Twitter will need to tread lightly regarding user privacy, especially if they plan on introducing Flocks beyond beta testing.

Twitter, however, is playing its cards close to its chest. The social media company has yet to confirm any details regarding its potential Flock feature, so there’s still uncertainty about whether or not the feature will come to fruition.

To Flock, or Not to Flock?

We still aren’t sure if or when Twitter will release the Flock feature. However, it’s certainly something to watch out for when scrolling through your timeline. Who would you add to your Flock?

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Staff writer at ReHack Magazine with a passion for cybersecurity, AI, and all things tech. Offline, you'll find me cruising the neighborhood on my motorcycle or bingeing the latest true crime documentary.

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