Twitter will allow users to hide replies in a bid to ‘give people control over the conversations they have’.
Twitter has launched a new feature today (21 November) that allows users to hide replies to their tweets. The aim, according to the company, is to allow users to civilise conversations by hiding disruptive, offensive or trolling comments from their feed.
The feature, which is being rolled out globally after trials in the US and Japan in September 2019 and an initial trial in Canada, allows users to hide any replies to their tweets. It will still be possible, however, to engage with the hidden responses by tapping a grey icon that will appear under the original tweet that started the conversation.
A spokesperson from Twitter said: “We need to find a balance between giving people control and transparency. The hidden replies are separated from the conversation, but everyone can still find all these tweets though the new icon and the drop-down menu. The new icon will appear to let people know when a conversation has hidden replies.
“This is a feature to give people control over the conversations they have, but we’ve made sure to build in transparency so it’s clear when tweets have been hidden. It is also still possible to engage with the tweets that have been hidden.”
Now, there is no way to tell that replies have been hidden from a conversation based solely on looking at the thread. Users will have to click ‘hidden replies’ to determine whether these replies actually exist.
Twitter declined to comment when asked by Siliconrepublic.com about whether there were concerns about the implications that the new feature might have on the spread of disinformation or misinformation.
However, in the company’s statement about the update, director of product management Suzanne Xie claimed that “people mostly hide replies they think are irrelevant, off-topic or annoying”, and that public figures such as those in politics and journalism “aren’t hiding replies very often”.
Twitter has launched a host of new features in recent weeks, announcing plans to ban all political advertising on its platform. The global ban is set to be rolled out on Friday (22 November).