Back in March, Twitter confirmed that it was testing a new option which would enable users to hide selected replies from their tweets, offering a new way for people to control their on-platform experience.
As you can see here, the new ‘Hide Tweet’ option would be added to the tweet drop-down list. When selected, the chosen reply would be hidden not just from your timeline, but from anyone else also – though all users would still be able to choose the ‘View Hidden Tweets’ option (last frame above) on any tweet to see what the poster has chosen to hide.
Now, that option has moved to the next phase, with reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong sharing this update.
Canadian users can now try out the functionality, which some will see as a means to remove dissenting opinions from the stream, and others will see as a welcome update to maintain a level of civility on the platform.
Of course, you can already hide comments on your Facebook posts, so it’s not like, functionally, its a radical change. But still, Twitter has long prided itself on being more open, being the ‘global town square’, where everyone can share their opinions. This seems to go against that ethos a little – yet, at the same time, it makes sense, given Twitter’s problems with toxic commentors and communities who regularly shout down and criticize those who oppose their perspective.
Being able to hide selected tweet replies will enable users to have more control over their Twitter experience. As noted, all users will still be able to view the hidden tweets if they wish, but they’ll be removed from the general timeline, which could help to make tweet streams more engaging by eliminating the junk.
There are risks of misuse, which is why Twitter is testing it on a relatively small scale to begin with, but it could end up being a valuable, helpful option, removing trend-jackers and spammers, and facilitating a more engaging tweet stream.
There’s no word on an expanded roll out at this stage.