After conducting tests briefly in Canada, Twitter’s controversial “Hide Replies” feature, pointed at civilizing talks on its platform, is starting today in the U.S. and Japan.
The addition is one of the more extreme modifications to Twitter to date.
It places people back in control of a discussion they have started by providing them with the ability to hide those contributions they believe are offensive.
How Does This Feature Work?
These replies, which may vary from being irrelevant to downright offensive, aren’t deleted from Twitter. They are just put behind an additional click.
Hence, people who come into a discussion to cause drama, make improper remarks or abuse others won’t have their opinions heard by the conversation’s members.
Only those who wish to view the hidden replies will see these posts.
How Is It Different From Other Social Media Platforms?
Different social media platforms don’t give so much power to commenters to obstruct conversations.
For example, on Facebook and Instagram, you can delete any replies to your posts; however, Twitter has a distinct vibe.
It is intended to be a public town square, where everyone has the freedom to speak within reason.
Sadly, Twitter’s free nature also led to bullying and insult.
Before today, the only choices Twitter gave were to mute, block and report users.
However, blocking and muting only affect your own Twitter experience.
You might no longer be able to see the posts from those users, yet others still could.
Reporting a tweet is also a complex process that needs time.
It is not an instant solution for a discussion, quickly spinning out of control.
While “Hide Replies” will support to address these problems, it comes with challenges of its own, too.
It can be applied as a way to silence opposing opinions, including those stated thoughtfully, or even fact-checked explanations.
Twitter thinks the feature will eventually encourage people to behave appropriately when posting to its platform.
The Launch Plan
After launching in Canada in July, Twitter stated that people often used the feature to hide replies they found were inappropriate, offensive or meaningless.
User feedback was positive, even those who worked with the tool said they found it was a convenient way to control what they saw, comparable to keyword muting.
Despite the extension, Twitter announces “Hide Replies” is still viewed as a test as the company is proceeding to evaluate the system.
And as of now, it is not available to Twitter’s global user base.
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