Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) may soon end what it is known for. And it is unlikely to go over well with Twitter fans. The microblogging company is experimenting with a new version of its Android app, which doesn’t have @replies. It indicates that the company may soon ditch the feature. According to BuzzFeed, Vivian Schiller, the head of news at Twitter, recently said at an event that @replies and hashtags are “arcane.” She was addressing the crowd at the Newspaper Association of America’s mediaXchange conference in Denver.

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Twitter’s new version of Android app removes @replies

Schiller hinted that Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) would soon move them into the background to provide users a more “streamlined” approach. That will help new users understand Twitter more easily. Schiller later played down her statements. But a screenshot from the alpha version of Twitter’s Android app shows that @replies were removed in favor of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)-like mentions. Anyway, it’s still an experiment, and there is no suggestion that the regular @replies have been affected.

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Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) has been trying to improve its user interface as its user growth slows. The company has acknowledged that new users find it difficult to understand how it works. The idea behind removing those features is that the San Francisco-based company’s “scaffolding” puts new users off. But loyal Twitter users are likely to protest against the removal.

How is Twitter going to make it work?

Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) CEO Dick Costolo said during the earnings conference call that bringing the content of the site forward and pushing the scaffolding into the background would increase high-quality interactions. And the new users will find the service exciting, just like existing users do. It’s still unclear how those changes would work. Some experts say that @replies may be auto-replaced by formal names, like Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) does. That means @replies can be used when writing a tweet, but will automatically disappear when published.

Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) shares went down 0.53% to $50.97 in pre-market trading Thursday.