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Yesterday, the team at Twitter announced to test a new feature called “Hide Replies” in the US and Japan after testing it in Canada. Twitter’s Hide Replies feature lets users hide all those unwanted trolls, abuse, bully and replies on their tweet. The company aims towards civilized conversations on Twitter and to give more control to the users.

Users can now decide which reply will be hidden from other users but those who choose to view the hidden replies will still be able to see them by clicking on an icon that would bring up all the hidden tweets. Users can hide replies on both the app and desktop versions of the website. 

Observations from the Canadian ‘Hide Replies’ feature test

In July this year, the The Twitter team tested out the ‘Hide Replies’ feature in Canada and tried to understand how conversations on the platform change when a person (who starts a conversation) hides the replies. 

The team observed that users often hide those replies that they think are not relevant, unintelligible or abusive. According to their survey, the ones who used this feature found it helpful.

Also, the users were more likely to reconsider their interactions when their tweets were hidden. Around 27% of the users who had their tweets hidden thought of reconsidering their interactions with others in the future.

Hiding someone’s replies can also lead to confusion as it could be misunderstood, so Twitter notifies the user if they wish to block the user.

The official post reads, “People were concerned hiding someone’s reply could be misunderstood and potentially lead to confusion or frustration. As a result, now if you tap to hide a Tweet, we’ll check in with you to see if you want to also block that account.”

According to the team, the Canadian test showed positive results as the feature helped users have better conversations.

In an announcement regarding the feature’s Canada launch, the company said, “Everyday, people start important conversations on Twitter, from #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter, to discussions around #NBAFinals or their favorite television shows. These conversations bring people together to debate, learn, and laugh. That said we know that distracting, irrelevant, and offensive replies can derail the discussions that people want to have. Ultimately, the success of ‘hide replies’ will depend on how people use it, but it could mean friendlier — and more filtered — conversations.”

Twitter’s Hide Replies feature: will it really improve conversations?

The Hide Replies feature is a great addition to the list of the block and mute options on Twitter but it could possibly turn into a slight restriction on freedom of speech. In case, the replies weren’t abusive or offensive but are strong views about a subject and the author still decides to hide that reply, then the user who replied might not understand the reason behind hiding the reply.

But the good thing is that users can opt to still see the hidden replies. So in this case, the hidden responses aren’t being completely silenced but it will now take an extra click to view them. Also, if the platform still shows the hidden replies then the motive of hiding the replies fails there itself.

While it is still not clear as to how will Twitter curtail abusive comments or bullies on the Twitter thread with this feature as it doesn’t delete them but simply hide them. Few Twitter users are not happy with this feature and think it is irrelevant if the user first hides the replies and than again it will appear on clicking the option to see the hidden replies.

To know more about this news, check out the official post.

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