Today, Twitter announced that it is giving people more control over the chats they start with the latest feature that allows them to hide replies. In Canada, the company has been testing this feature and is now rolling it out in Japan and the US too. This move is an element of an intensive effort the twitter is making to stop the spread of vitriol and hate online.
Earlier, users can only manage their individual experience of a chat by muting some keywords so they no longer can be seen in notifications, or by blocking particular users altogether. They couldn’t change how others engaged in the discussion, which proved difficult when lively conversations inevitably started to meltdown.
At present, the person who tweets the original comment gets to choose which replies stay and which are hidden from the other users. By clicking on the right-hand menu gives the set of normal options with ‘hide reply’ now added to the list.
In February, Twitter first announced the feature and began testing it in July. The company wrote in a blog post, ‘we saw that people more probably to review their interactions when their tweet was hidden.’
As the company is walking the line amid free speech and civil discussions, the feature can prove controversial. Although people can theoretically observe hidden replies, it lets them to tailor online discussions and hiding opposite viewpoints.
But Twitter is eager to risk that to win back its reputation as a place where various conversations and activism such as #BlackLivesMatter, the Arab Spring and #MeToo can thrive without nuisance and conspiracy theories. In a statement about the feature’s Canada launch, Twitter said:
Every day, people start vital conversations on Twitter, to discussions around #NBAFinals or their preferred TV shows. These chats bring people together to learn, laugh and debate. That said we know that irrelevant, offensive and distracting replies could derail the conversations that people want to have.
Finally, the success of ‘hide replies’ will depend on how users will use it, but it can mean friendlier as well as more filtered conversations.