One of the beauties of Twitter's Periscope live video streaming service is how easy it is to start a broadcast and instantly have a bunch of strangers not only watching it, but interacting with you too. Yet the very same features that make it so easy to engage with others also ended up turning Periscope into a potential troll den. Anyone watching your public stream could come in and leave comments seen by you and everyone else. There was also a record of it for a potentially embarrassing 24 hours whenever you or anyone else played the streams back.
Keep your friends close, and your enemies silent
Twitter's original plan for that was the threat of having the service linked up with your Twitter account. Today it's gone one step beyond with a new "follower only" mode. As the name suggests, only people you follow will be able to comment. Everyone else is just a passive viewer, and limited to maniacally tapping the screen to launch hearts in your direction. It's a happy medium between putting up with potential trolls on a public stream, and going through the efforts to set up a private broadcast with just the people you choose. Along with new mode, Twitter has made it easier to block people from a stream, whether or not you're the broadcaster. Now you just tap their name and you'll get the option either to block them or go directly to their Periscope profile.
Both these new features are useful, but potentially useless on popular broadcasts. Periscope will automatically disable comments from a stream if it gets too full, something that could change as the feature matures. Other additions in the update include a new discovery section of global broadcasts from around the world and the same blue checkmark badge for verified users that Twitter uses for its users.
Periscope is still only available for iOS users. Last week, the team developing it said an Android version would be available "soon."