Twitter confirmed that it is developing a new “Hide Tweet” feature which will give users an ability to protect their conversations. This new option is found in Twitter’s code and appear in the list choices when you click the “Share” button on a tweet. “Hide Tweet” might work as an alternative to muting or blocking a user, while still offering some control over a conversation.
— Michelle Yasmeen Haq (@thechelleshock) February 28, 2019
Apart from “Hide Tweets,” the company seems to be working on another feature, “View Hidden Tweets.” This allows a user to unhide those tweets that were previously hidden by the original poster. When reached out for a comment on this post, the company’s spokesperson confirmed the feature is something the company is actively working on.
However, this feature has concerns attached to it as it would allow users to silence anyone- not just for themselves, as is possible today with muting and blocking — but for anyone reading through a stream of Twitter Replies. It also requires the user to click to view the Replies that were hidden, which some users may not know and others may not bother to do.
On the flip side, putting the original poster back in control of which Replies are visible may allow people to feel more comfortable with sharing on Twitter, which could impact user growth. Twitter sees this feature as a “moderation” action – thus implying it’s more about the health of the conversation and not a personal setting. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that the company was looking into new ways to proactively enforce and promote health, so blocking and reporting were last options.
Twitter Back in 2018, the company introduced a new filtering strategy to hide disruptive tweets, which takes into consideration various behavioral signals — like whether the account had verified its email, is frequently blocked or tweets often at accounts that don’t follow it back.
Explaining the feature, Twitter Senior PM Michelle Yasmeen Haq in a series of Tweets said:
We often hear from heavy Tweeters that they want to be able to protect their conversations…
People who start interesting conversations on Twitter are really important to us, and we want to empower them to make the conversations they start as healthy as possible by giving them some control.
We think of conversations as an ecosystem of different groups: authors, repliers, the audience and the platform. We try to balance the experience across all four groups, and we are continuously exploring ways to shift the balance without overcorrecting.
We already see people trying keep their conversations healthy by using block, mute, and report, but these tools don’t always address the issue. Block and mute only change the experience of the blocker, and report only works for the content that violates our policies.
With this feature, the person who started a conversation could choose to hide replies to their tweets. The hidden replies would be viewable by others through a menu option.
We think the transparency of the hidden replies would allow the community to notice and call out situations where people use the feature to hide content they disagree with. We think this can balance the product experience between the original Tweeter and the audience.
In the coming months, we plan to start testing this publicly so stay tuned for more and keep telling us what you think.