By: Nick Gambino
In an effort to give users some additional control over the conversations they start on the platform, Twitter just announced a “Hide Replies” feature.
The feature, which is set to start testing in June, would allow the conversation starter to hide any replies they want so they don’t show up in the main conversation thread. Now, the replies aren’t gone and are still viewable by others if they so choose. By selecting “View Hidden Tweets” in the share options menu, users can see what tweets were deemed unworthy.
So, it’s not that they are completely silenced but it does quiet certain trolls and less-than-bright individuals. The idea behind “Hide Replies” is to allow the original tweeter to block out any toxic communication or nonsequiturs which they don’t feel add to the topic.
— Michelle Yasmeen Haq (@thechelleshock) February 28, 2019
“We often hear from heavy Tweeters that they want to be able to protect their conversations,” Senior Product Manager for Twitter, Michelle Yasmeen Haq, said in a series of tweets. “People who start interesting conversations on Twitter are really important to us, and we want to empower them to make the conversations they start as healthy as possible by giving them some control.”
Though, it can also be used to silence any dissenters or people who voice disagreement even in a civil manner. For some, social media is an echo chamber for their world views and anyone who challenges said views shouldn’t have a seat at the table. But allowing users to see the tweets that have been hidden will allow other users to check the serial tweet hider for perceived hypocrisy.
Until now, users have used the Block and Mute features to try to weed out the toxicity. Unfortunately, this is limited merely to their own experience, as it only blocks or mutes what they can see. Others reading the convo will still see these tweets. This new feature ensures the conversation is kept “clean” for all.
Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have been on a campaign of late to figure out how to balance the natural toxicity of human relations with freedom of speech and expression. This seems like a step in the right direction.