Following the lead of Facebook users whose uproar over a change in terms led the social media company to change them back, Twitter users are now clamoring about a change in what Twitter shows.

Twitter users "follow" other users, meaning they see their posts. People can either create new posts or reply to other users. What Twitter has done is changed things so that people only see replies to other users if they are also following those users.

The company said it made the change in response to user request. "Receiving one-sided fragments via replies sent to folks you don't follow in your timeline is undesirable. Today's update removes this undesirable and confusing option."

However, numerous Twitter users -- posting with the hashtag #fixreplies to help track the discussion -- point out that seeing replies to people they don't follow helps them discover interesting new people to follow.

Moreover, one of the events that really put Twitter on the map in terms of real-time news -- widespread notice of an attack in Mumbai on Western tourists -- wouldn't have been possible under this new policy, #fixreplies supporters point out.

Currently, 81 sites link to the description of the new policy, with most of them appearing to disapprove of it. It is the leading discussion topic on Twitter right now. There is also at least two online petitions.

Other users point out that tools such as Tweetdeck allow them to circumvent the new policy.

Twitter also notes that users will still see mentions of new people -- just not replies to them. "you'll still see mentions or references linking to people you don't follow. For example, you'll continue to see, "Ev meeting with @biz about work stuff" even if you don't follow @biz." The company also hinted it would be providing new tools to help find other people.

It remains to be seen whether Twitter will back down. It's another demonstration that social networking is a double-edged sword.

About the Author

People thought it was weird enough that I was both a writer and a computer geek. So then I went and started getting involved in government to pull that in, too. And, y'know, there's a heck of a lot more connections than one might think!

i find it really hard to get used to any of those social networking tools:(