Twitter today rolled out its new "Hide Replies" feature in the U.S. and Japan, providing Twitter users with more control over the replies that are visible following a tweet.
The idea behind the feature is to give people more control over the conversations they start on the social media platform, so they can hide replies that are offensive and the hidden reply won't show up to others as a response to the original tweet.
The company has been experimenting the Hide Replies feature since June, and says it saw "a lot of positive trends" during its initial test in Canada.
According to Twitter, people with access to the feature mostly hide replies that they think are irrelevant, abusive or unintelligible. It also found that people were more likely to reconsider their interactions when their tweet was hidden.
To mitigate concerns that hiding someone's reply could be misunderstood and potentially lead to confusion or frustration, Twitter says it will ask the user if they want to also block that account.
As TechCrunch pointed out back in April, Hide Replies has the potential to be controversial because the original person who tweets will be able to control which replies are visible in a conversation thread. However, Twitter is more interested its potential for good, as noted in its blog post:
These are positive and heartening results: the feature helped people have better conversations, and was a useful tool against replies that deterred from the person’s original intent.
We're interested to see if these trends continue, and if new ones emerge, as we expand our test to Japan and the US. People in these markets use Twitter in many unique ways, and we’re excited to see how they might use this new tool.
The news follows several other features that have recently been trialed or rolled out on the social media platform, all with the aim of handing over more control to users and creating a "healthier service" by cutting down on abuse and harassment.