In an effort to give users more control over the conversations they start, Twitter is rolling out a hidden reply feature today in the U.S. and Japan. The test, which was first introduced in Canada in July, lets users manually hide any replies to their own tweets that they don’t want to appear in their thread.
It’s a move that comes on the heels of the platform’s recent introduction of warning labels on tweets that Twitter deems to be in the public interest, despite otherwise being in violation of site rules. As with these warning labels, which users can elect to click through if they want to view the offending tweets, all users can still see hidden replies (including those whose replies have also been hidden) via an icon in the bottom-right corner of the Tweet, which gives the option to “view replies the Tweet author has hidden.”
“We want to be clear and transparent when someone has made the decision to hide a reply, and will be looking at how this feature gives more control to authors while not compromising the transparency and openness that is central to what makes Twitter so powerful,” said Twitter in its original blog post.
It’s a welcome tool for anyone who wants to conceal offensive or irrelevant replies to their Tweets, but its public nature might also invite unwanted drama. Twitter seems to be aware of this, though, and will prompt users with the option to block the account whose reply is being hidden, in case further action needs to be taken after hiding. Despite the potential for awkwardness, this test represents a step in the right direction as Twitter continues to take accountability for its ubiquitous influence on public discourse and its subsequent responsibility to make the internet a safer place for its users. But a word to the wise: If you want to hide someone without being obvious about it, just go with the good ol’-fashioned Mute tool.
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