Twitter has announced that it is rolling out its anticipated “Hide Replies” feature in the U.S. and Japan today. The feature was originally announced back in February and rolled out in a testing phase for Canadian users earlier this year. Twitter says the U.S. and Japanese rollout is an extension of that test—but they are essentially making it a feature as it’s available to all users in both countries.
A user can hide any other user’s reply to their tweet by tapping or clicking the drop-down arrow on the tweet and then selecting “Hide Reply.” It is important to note that this does not delete the other person’s tweet, instead their tweet is hidden from view from anyone who views your tweet that the user replied to.
However, other Twitter users can choose to see replies you’ve hidden by selecting a new “hidden replies” button on your original tweet. This button will appear on your original tweet once you’ve hidden at least one reply. When a user selects this option, they’ll be shown a separate replies list with all the replies you’ve hidden.
By adding the “Hide Reply” feature, Twitter is trying to make the platform a less toxic place. In its early tests of the feature, Twitter said, “People mostly hide replies that they think are irrelevant, abusive, or unintelligible” and that “27% of people who had their tweets hidden said they would reconsider how they interact with others in the future.”
There are of course concerns that the feature could be used to silence users who are, for example, replying to a tweet to correct misinformation in the original tweet, but as the new feature lets users choose to see hidden tweets, that concern is somewhat mitigated.
In its early tests of the feature, Twitter concluded: “The feature helped people have better conversations, and was a useful tool against replies that deterred from the person’s original intent.”