Social Media

Twitter’s Testing a New Option Which Would Enable Users to Hide Selected Tweet Replies

This could spark a new wave of controversy. According to social
media code hacker Jane
Manchun Wong, Twitter is working on a new feature which
would enable users to hide
any reply of their choosing on their tweets.

Tweet moderation example

As you can see here, a new ‘Hide Tweet’ option has been added
to the reply tweet drop-down list. When selected, the chosen
reply is hidden not just from your timeline, but from anyone
else also, though all users will still be able to choose the
‘View Hidden Tweets’ option (last frame above) on any tweet to
see what the poster has chosen to hide.

That’s important, as it would mean that politicians, for
example, could hide dissenting opinions from their reply
chains, but users would still be able to see what they’d chosen
to hide, ensuring there’s still a level of transparency and
accountability.

Of course, Facebook already has a similar ‘Hide comment’ option
for Pages – on Facebook, when Page admin opts to hide a
comment, it’s removed from public view, and only friends of the
original commenter are still able to see it. Twitter’s
variation – if it were to go ahead – would enable more
transparency, in that anyone would still be able to view the
hidden replies, but it would rely on users actually bothering
to tap that option, which could have positive and negative
consequences.

On Facebook, the ability to hide replies can be good for
weeding out link spammers and junk comments, in order to boost
genuine engagement on your updates. It can also be used to
remove criticism and negative comments, though the impact seems
fairly limited. Twitter, a more open platform, may not be as
welcoming of the same. It depends on the rates at which users
do press that ‘View Hidden Tweets’ option, but it could be seen
as a method to sanitize criticism, and to reduce public
brand-shaming.

The impact of that will vary – Twitter has become a key
platform for social customer service, at least in part because
of the public nature of tweets, and the capacity for customers
to call businesses out in front of everyone. If businesses
could mute those concerns, would that have a negative impact on
overall discussion? if, say, Donald Trump’s social media team
was able to remove all the negative comments from his tweet
replies, would that be a good thing for broader debate?

These are the factors Twitter is obviously weighing up, but it
does make some sense, in regards to keeping conversations
civil, active and engaging. 

Whether that outweighs the potential negatives is difficult to
say.

Twitter has confirmed that this option is development and
will be rolled out for broader public testing within the next
few months

Freeman Addico

Techmaker and Entrepreneur with an extensive experience in Cloud Computing and e-commerce. I build Solutions for Equity and revenue sharing basis. Think of me as an Investor who invests Technology instead of money. Want to explore a collaboration? Drop me a message or schedule a call

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