24 December 2019
Twitter has announced that Hide Replies feature is now available for users in the United States and Japan. This new feature has been under testing in Canada for quite some time and it is now being expanded to more users. It is aimed at keeping conversations healthy on the platform by allowing users to hide replies that they deem irrelevant, abusing, trolling or negative in any way.
The feature gives more freedom and control to users in relation to how they want conversations to be on their threads. It allows anyone to hide any number of replies to their original tweet. The option is accessible by clicking the three-dot icon next to any tweet and is an addition to existing options for muting, blocking, and reporting a user on Twitter.
It should be noted that Hide Replies feature does not delete replies which is something you are able to do on your Facebook and Instagram posts. It simply hides selected replies from everyone so that others can focus on the actual conversation. However, if someone wants to check any of those hidden replies, they can do so by one simple click.
There is no doubt that the intention behind the feature rollout is good but like many other things around us, it can also be misused by people for their own gains. It can be used to hide replies which are not in line with the point of view of the original tweeter or replies which offer a factual correction to the original tweet. In other words, the feature can be misused to mislead other people by hiding replies that offer a sensible and correct version of the existing conversation.
This is the reason Hide Replies has been a controversial feature since its initial rollout earlier this year. But as per Twitter, initial tests have shown that 27% of people whose tweets were hidden agreed to reconsider their replies in the future. It is unknown how the data was collected and what was the criteria for the survey but it does appear to be a step in the right direction for Twitter.