Twitter users are getting more control over which comments are visible in the conversations they start.
The company has been testing and talking about this feature since earlier this year, but starting next week, Twitter will actually roll it out to users in Canada.
As you can see in the GIF below, when you’re looking at replies to your tweets, you’ll be able to select any of them and hit the “hide reply” option. However, as the name implies, these posts won’t be fully removed from Twitter, just hidden from the default view — everyone will still be able to tap on a gray icon to view hidden replies.
Here’s how Twitter’s Michelle Yasmeen Haq and Brittany Forks explain the feature:
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. We believe people should have some control over the conversations they start.
As my colleague Sarah Perez noted previously, the current implementation is open to at least two criticisms — one, that it could allow users to hide critical viewpoints or fact-checking of their tweets (maybe quote-tweeting will be the better strategy moving forward), and two, that it still forces people to wade through potentially trollish or hateful content in order to hide replies.
Haq and Forks emphasize that Twitter is still looking for ways to improve the feature: “By testing in one country we want to get feedback and better understand how this tool can improve before it’s available globally.”
And yes, the timing of the news is a little awkward, coming right after Twitter went down for about an hour.