The new Hide Replies feature is now available for Twitter users in the United States and Japan. It aims to make conversations more civilized on the platform, which has received tons of criticism for fostering toxicity and hatred.
The rollout comes after tests performed in Canada. It comes as one of the most significant and biggest changes to Twitter thus far, as it gives people more control of a conversation they've started by giving them the ability to hide certain replies.
How The Hide Replies Feature Works
These replies will not be deleted from Twitter, however, just hidden behind an extra click, as TechCrunch reports. That means onlookers will still be able to view hidden tweets if they bother to make a few extra clicks.
Twitter has in recent years become a prime breeding ground for hateful rhetoric, home to countless accounts that spew hatred, toxicity, fake news, and controversial tweets on a daily basis. Most critics think Twitter hasn't done enough to curb this problem. Hide Replies is a welcome progress. It will prevent users who slide into threads intending to cause drama and spread hatred by having their tweets hidden behind clicks. Only those who choose to view the hidden replies will see those posts.
Giving Users Control
Before this feature arrived, Twitter seemed to be the only major social network that didn't give users control over their replies. On Facebook and Instagram, replies to a user's own post can be deleted entirely. Twitter, of course, has a different approach for some reason. As TechCrunch notes, it's meant to have this "public town square" vibe where everyone has a right to speak — that is, as long as they don't violate the site's guidelines.
Sadly, this exact approach is also Twitter's Achilles' heel. Giving users too much freedom and little control over replies has led to bullying and abusive language on the site. Before now, the only controls Twitter offered include muting, blocking, and reporting users. These aren't exactly fantastic solutions, however. Muting or blocking, for instance, only shapes the user's own Twitter experience; they may no longer see posts from troll accounts, but others still can. Reporting also can be a laborious task and doesn't guarantee swift action.
Twitter believes Hide Replies will encourage people to curb their behavior when posting on the site.
Since launching the feature in July, Twitter said users mostly used the feature to hide replies they found irrelevant, abusive, or unintelligible. The implementation garnered positive feedback, with people saying they found it a helpful way to control what they saw.
Of course, one feature won't solve Twitter's bevy of problems. Is this a step in the right direction, or will the company need to roll out stronger controls moving forward? As always, if you have any thoughts, sound them off in the comments section below!