Twitter is finally rolling out its ‘Hide Replies’ feature to all users around the world as part of its plans to encourage online civility. The feature, which was originally rolled out in Canada earlier this year before being introduced in the US and Japan a few months down the line, enables users to hide specific replies to their tweets that they don’t want to see in a conversation. Once hidden, these replies won’t show up by default but there will be an option to see the hidden replies and unhide any replies.
The development represents one of the most radical changes in the platform in recent memory and, according to the company, was necessitated because “we need to change how conversations work on our service”. As part of the plan, all users will now be able to hide replies to their Tweets, although, everyone will still be able to see and engage with those hidden replies by tapping/clicking on a grey icon that will appear on those Tweets. This way, users will have more control over the conversations they start, but people will still be able to see the entire conversation, said the company.
The option to hide replies is rolling out globally on the web, as well as on Android, iOS and Twitter Lite. While the change is being welcomed by many as a positive step towards enhanced civility on Twitter, it is also dividing public opinion, with many users complaining that it might be used by some to silence the opinion of others and stymie free speech. It will be interesting to see how it is used by the twitteratti going forward, but this is unlikely to be the last time you’re hearing about it.