Twitter says it's creating a feature that lets you hide responses to your tweets


Twitter today announced that it is building a new feature that allows users to hide responses to their tweets. The feature, first noticed by software expert Jane Manchun Wong, would bring a drastic change in how users control the conversations they create on the platform. It would not allow a user to permanently hide responses, but would make those responses harder to see if the original chatterer wanted to discourage bad or unpleasant discussions around their tweets.

"People who start interesting conversations on Twitter are really important to us, and we want to enable them to get the conversations started as healthy as possible, giving them some control," explains Michelle Yasmeen Haq, senior product manager for the company . who discussed the appeal publicly in his personal account on Twitter in the late afternoon. "We've seen people trying to keep their conversations healthy using block, mute, and report, but those tools do not always address the problem. Blocking and muting only changes the blocker experience, and the report only works for content that violates our policies. "

Essentially, the feature allows you to tap the "share" icon on Twitter and choose "hide Tweet" to close replies. From there, other users would have to click to see the responses in a tweet, instead of viewing them automatically. There also seems to be an option to view all the tweets you have hidden in the past and display them manually should you wish to reopen the replies sometime in the future.

By offering users the option to hide responses, Yasmeen Haq believes that Twitter can "balance the product experience between the original Tweeter and the public." In addition, "transparency of hidden responses would allow the community to perceive and call situations in which people use the resource to hide content with which they disagree." In other words, by hiding responses, you can send a signal to your audience that the conversation has become toxic or skewed, similar to disabling comments on YouTube or similar actions on Reddit and other forums.

Of course this feature can be a double-edged sword for Twitter. While there are many occasions when conversations under a controversial tweet become abusive and begin to involve harassment and other personal attacks, there are also cases where responding to a tweet has become a vital way of keeping people powerful, such as politicians, . The "Twitter index," as we describe times when a tweet gets a lot more responses than "likes" and "retweets," is one of the ways a large public audience on Twitter can exert criticism and dissatisfaction.

Usually it is used against public officials who make a notorious comment, or people who otherwise have committed some online forgeries that Twitter users then happily point out using a response. In some cases, however, the ratio may be a product of harassment campaigns that target innocuous tweets with unrelated criticism as part of a broader effort to make someone's Twitter experience unfortunate.

Maybe it's that kind of tricky behavior, being used by online progressives or by trolls and stalkers, which Twitter no longer wants to stimulate through its product design. The company has launched a number of new features and tools over the years that allow you to tailor your personal experience on Twitter. You can mute certain words, customize your notification feed to see only people, and make blocked accounts never appear in search results.

Twitter has also become, in recent years, another arbiter of the public space it oversees, proactively hiding confidential content and filtering out customer conversations known to be inflammatory and abusive. Just yesterday, the company banished the far-right conspiracy theorist Jacob Wohl, after Trump's defender actively boasted of using fake accounts to influence public opinion during the US election in 2020. Of course, these actions led to accusations that Twitter's leadership is biased against conservatives.

It is unclear how this feature will be received by the most ardent Twitter users. It's easy to see a world in which hiding your responses on Twitter becomes the equivalent of turning off YouTube comments, an action that, while ostensibly useful to combat harassment, has come to be seen by the YouTube community as a defensive and embarrassing maneuver to crack down on criticism and avoid responsibility. It is also disturbing to think public officials and others in positions of power using the feature as a way to paint certain comments or affirmations made on Twitter as positive, when in fact large parts of the public could be condemning the speech in the occult. answers.

That said, Twitter has a limited number of tools in its arsenal that can force people to stop being horrible with each other online. By allowing you to hide answers, the company is delivering these valuable tools to its users and expecting them to exercise them with caution and care, and also as a way to make Twitter a more nutritious and interesting place, less a nasty and full of abuses. . Like most aspects of Twitter, however, the use of the feature will reflect the attitudes of its users, whether that means ultimately resulting in a positive change in platform conversation – or negative.


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