Be ready for some big privacy (test) features on Twitter
This is no brand new information that corporations and companies around the world have access to the personal data of their customers. What’s a bigger concern is what this personal data is being used by these companies. A study conducted by Pew Research Centre found that 79% of internet users worldwide feel that they’ve lost total control over their data .
Every day, more and more tech giants like Apple and Twitter are realising people’s growing concern over privacy. With this realization, these tech companies are trying to include features that give them control of privacy in the hands of the users.
In order to get more users comfortable with the idea of sharing their thoughts with strangers on the platform, Twitter will be launching a host of new features (on a trial basis) that are supposed to allow greater privacy customization.
Twitter tests new privacy features
The new privacy features being tested by Twitter are:
- Hide liked tweets: Just like the privacy settings of Facebook posts, Twitter will be testing a feature that’ll enable Twitter users to adjust who sees what tweets they’ve liked. The categories for this feature will be “Everybody, Your Followers, Certain Groups”
- Unmention yourself: If a conversation is becoming toxic or terrible, users will be able to leave that conversation. They’ll be able to do so by unmentioning themselves that will untag a link to the user’s profile. What’s better is that the person who takes the users will be barred from tagging you again. This feature will be tested at “some point this year”
- Remove followers: At present, there’s just one way to get rid of unwanted, problematic followers – block them. Twitter plans on rolling out a feature through which users will be able to remove followers. The 280-character platform plans on rolling out the feature later in September. This will allow its users to remove certain followers at will. Considering how many users face hateful users and trolling, this truly is a useful feature
- Hide/Archive older tweets: We’ve all tweeted something we aren’t really proud of today! To save you the embarrassment, Twitter is launching a feature that’ll help you with this. Through this feature, you’ll be able to hide your old tweets. The microblogging platform considers a feature that will allow users to hide the visibility of the tweets after 30, 60, 90 days or after a full year. This feature is in its conceptualization stage
More on Twitter’s privacy-focused features
The features, that give users control over who sees what, how and when, are based on Twitter’s internal research. The internal research suggested that certain people are “reticent to tweet” as they are not comfortable with who can see their tweets or follow them, as per a report by Bloomberg.
Svetlana Pimkina, a researcher at Twitter said that when social privacy needs aren’t met, users limit their self-expression and withdraw from the conversation, which is why the new features are designed to keep users feeling safe and, hence, engaged.
 Auxier, B., Rainie, L., Andersen, M., Perrin, A., Kumar, M., and Turner, M. (2019) Pew Research Center “Americans and Privacy: Concerned, Confused and Feeling Lack of Control Over Their Personal Information” [Online] Available from: https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2019/11/15/americans-and-privacy-concerned-confused-and-feeling-lack-of-control-over-their-personal-information/ [Accessed September 2021]