Twitter is reportedly working on a new “hide tweet” feature, which will allow users to completely hide unwanted or critical replies made to their posts from the public.
Twitter Senior Project Manager Michelle Yasmeen Haq confirmed the feature in a series of posts on Twitter.
“We often hear from heavy Tweeters that they want to be able to protect their conversations… 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,” she declared. “We think of conversations as an ecosystem of different groups: authors, repliers, the audience and the platform. We try to balance the experience across all four groups, and we are continuously exploring ways to shift the balance without overcorrecting.”
“We already see people trying keep their conversations healthy by using block, mute, and report, but these tools don’t always address the issue. Block and mute only change the experience of the blocker, and report only works for the content that violates our policies. With this feature, the person who started a conversation could choose to hide replies to their tweets,” Haq continued. “The hidden replies would be viewable by others through a menu option.”
“We think the transparency of the hidden replies would allow the community to notice and call out situations where people use the feature to hide content they disagree with. We think this can balance the product experience between the original Tweeter and the audience,” she concluded, adding, “In the coming months, we plan to start testing this publicly so stay tuned for more and keep telling us what you think!”
TechCrunch reported that there were immediate concerns “that an option like this would allow users to silence their critics — not just for themselves, as is possible today with muting and blocking — but for anyone reading through a stream of Twitter Replies.”
“Imagine, for example, if a controversial politician began to hide tweets they didn’t like or those that contradicted an outrageous claim with a fact check,” TechCrunch explained. “It also requires the user to click to view the Replies that were hidden, which some users may not know to do and others may not bother to do. They may then miss out on an important point in the conversation, or a critical fact check.”