On November 21st, Twitter introduced global access to a new feature which will allow users to hide replies to their tweets. The aim of the feature, according to Twitter, is to give their users more control over their own conversations. In the company’s November 22nd blog post, Twitter’s Director of Communications, Suzanne Xie, explained that the feature was being implemented in order to allow users to “feel safe and comfortable while talking on Twitter“.
Twitter carried out tests of the feature in September by users in Japan and the United States. This was after a similar test in Canada in July. Twitter revealed that the majority of users hid Tweets that they think are “irrelevant, abusive or unintelligible”.
Speaking to Silicon Republic, a spokesperson from Twitter explained that they “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.“
However, this feature does not hide hidden Tweets from everyone. Users will still be able to see any hidden replies by clicking on a grey button visible on the bottom left of a tweet. The new icon will only be visible to users when replies have been hidden from a Tweet. Currently, there is no way to see whether replies have been deleted from specific conversation threads. Additionally, the author of a tweet can also make a reply visible again through the ‘hidden reply’ button.