Twitter Circle tests the tweets you prefer to keep to ‘select people’

The impending Twitter takeover hasn’t halted all product testing as we’ve seen hints of the upcoming tweet-editing feature. And now, the company has announced a limited test for Twitter Circle† It’s a feature similar to Instagram’s Close Friends feature or, if you’ve been around for a while, Google Plus.

Twitter Circle allows users to choose up to 150 people to join their Circle, including followers and unfollowers. Then, if they feel like tweeting without sharing with the masses, they simply open the Choose Public menu while writing a tweet and choose Twitter Circle instead of Everyone (as shown below). According to Twitter, this is different from its communities, which also hide tweets in an effort to avoid “context collapse” because they relate to certain discussions, while Circle are just standard tweets that aren’t visible to everyone.

Twitter Circle Prompt

Image: Twitter

It’s a way to have the same privacy as a locked account that only appears to people who follow it without limiting yourself to a locked account. People who are currently members of your circle can see the tweets you post in it, but they can’t use the built-in retweet icon to automatically share them. That doesn’t stop the screenshots or downloads of content in the tweet, of course, but again, it’s the same as if you had a locked account, except it varies based on the tweets you select.

As Twitter’s guidelines for the test make clear, just because the public can’t see your tweets doesn’t mean there aren’t rules. Elon doesn’t own the site yet – you could still be banned for abusive behavior or other activities that break the rules. The feature has been in the works since last year, branding “Trusted Friends” and “Facet” for the Institutions, and named “Flock” earlier this year.

For now, the chosen few who have access to Twitter Circle can only create a single Circle, and only the person who creates the Circle can see the list of people in it. The feature is available to them on iOS, Android, and the web. While sitting in a circle, you can’t remove yourself from it, but you can mute a discussion if it’s taking up too much of your timeline.

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