Twitter temporarily rolled out an update to iOS users that killed of the @names in replies. This move was not received well by the users, and after a short while, Twitter rolled it back claiming that it was just an experiment rolled out by 'accident'. The removal of @names gave the users more characters to dabble with, and the freedom to tag many users to their reply tweet.
This feature has been rolled back after a broadly negative reception form users. Twitter then announced that it was just an accident, and 'that the feature was just supposed to be an experiment'. "Today, an experiment around replies accidentally went out to everyone on iOS briefly. Upside, we got helpful feedback - we're listening!" the company said.
Always working to simplify & make Twitter better for everyone. Appreciate all the feedback (and apologies for the confusion). Learning fast. https://t.co/TeIsmNubgd— 🚶🏽jack (@jack) December 9, 2016
Earlier, while replying to a tweet, @names was also a part of the reply tweet eating on to the 140-character limit. The new feature aimed to save up characters by removing @names from the tweet and showing them in small font on top of the tweet.
The company did not confirm that they have killed of the feature for good, and won't bring it back. It is likely that the company will take into account all the feedback, and release a more refined version sometime later. For now, the new replies feature is gone, and iOS users can go back to their traditional ways of replying to a tweet.
In May, Twitter had announced that it would roll out a few new features to make tweets longer. The company looks to stop counting photos, GIFs, quote tweets, and polls as additional characters. At that time, Twitter had said that it will also stop counting @names in replies, and a user can tag up to 50 @names while replying to a tweet.
Just a few days ago, Twitter announced a new feature that organised replies to a tweet in such a way that users will get to see the "best content" first, bringing its mobile apps in line with the desktop. The company added that people may see replies in different order based of various preferential factors.