Twitter accidentally removes @ handles in replies
People would respond to tweets only to find out that the name of the person they're responding to appears above the reply, instead of inside the tweet itself. @ handles are an essential part of the Twitter ecosystem and users are used to them, so most people weren't happy about this change.
Damn, not even the @ reply made it out of 2016 alive.— jake (@jakebeckman) December 9, 2016
What's even worse, in our modest opinion, is that @username handles in tweets no longer counted towards the character limit. So, if you wanted to mention 50 people in one tweet, you were free to do so without sacrificing a single character. Imagine how that went for some users.
In the end, Twitter reverted everything back to normal, and let the general public know that “an experiment around replies accidentally went out to everyone on iOS briefly”. How did the company manage to accidentally submit an app update for review in the App Store, then get it approved and accidentally roll it out is beyond us, though.
Today, an experiment around replies accidentally went out to everyone on iOS briefly. Upside, we got helpful feedback - we’re listening!— Twitter Support (@Support) December 9, 2016
The way we see it, it could have been a planned update by Twitter, to test the waters. After all, that specific feature was in beta tests for Android some time ago. And when it went south, the company came up with the accidental release version. However, these are just speculations on our side.