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Twitter launches the Hide Replies feature, in hopes of civilizing conversations

Twitter today is beginning its test of a radical and controversial change to its service with the launch of a new Hide Replies feature. Effectively, this option gives users the ability to wrestle back control over a conversation theyve started by hiding any replies they feel arent worthy contributions for example, replies that are irrelevant or outright offensive.
One of the problems with Twitter and with many social networks, for that matter is that an otherwise healthy conversation can easily be disrupted by a single individual or a small number of people who dont contribute in a positive fashion. They come into a thread to start drama or they make inappropriate, rude or even hateful remarks.
Of course, users can choose for themselves to either Mute or Block people like this, which limits their ability to affect their own personal experience on Twitter. But this doesnt remove their comments from others view. The Hide Replies feature, however, will.
But its not the equivalent of a delete button. In other words, hidden replies are not removed from Twitter entirely, they are just placed behind an icon. If people want to see the hidden replies, they can press this icon to view them.
Twitter launches the Hide Replies feature, in hopes of civilizing conversations

Twitters goal with the feature is to encourage more civil conversation on its platform. It could work, as those who want their comments seen by a wide audience will have to find a way to express themselves in an appropriate fashion without taking the conversation off course or resorting to insults or trolling. Otherwise, they know their replies could be hidden from the default view.
But this change is not without significant downsides.
For example, a user could choose to hide replies that simply (and even politely!) disagreed with their view. This would then create a filter bubble where only people who shared the original posters same opinion would have their comments prominently displayed. In this case, the feature would be silencing other viewpoints and thats in direct opposition to Twitters larger goal of creating a public town square on the web, where every voice has a chance to be heard.
More worryingly, a user could choose to hide replies that attempt to correct misinformation or offer a fact check. Thats a significant concern at a time when social media platforms have turned into propaganda dissemination machines, and have been infiltrated by state-supported actors from foreign governments looking to manipulate public sentiment and influence elections.
Twitter claims the feature provides transparency because hidden replies are still available for viewing to anyone who wishes to see them. But this assumes that people will notice the small hidden replies icon and bother to click it.
The ability to hide replies is initially available only to users in Canada, but tweets with hidden replies will be accessible by all Twitter users worldwide.


Were testing a feature to hide replies from conversations. This experience will be available for everyone around the world, but at this time, only people in Canada can hide replies to their Tweets.
We want to know what you think. Please Tweet us your feedback and questions! https://t.co/H7iMtEhCUP
Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 17, 2019
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