Erin Shields of Baltimore and Media Justice protests with the activist group Change the Terms Reducing Hate Online outside Twitter Headquarters in San Francisco, Nov. 19. Photo: Philip Pacheco/FP via Getty Images
Twitter announced in a new blog post that it will allow global users to hide replies to their tweets in an effort to help people "feel safe and comfortable" on the platform.
The big picture: This isn't the social media company's first attempt to curb harassment and encourage online civility, but it is the first push to give users control over the tone and topic of a Twitter thread before it is derailed by irrelevant, insulting or unnecessarily unpleasant commentary.
But, but, but: "Hide Replies has been one of Twitter's more controversial features to date," per TechCrunch. The new feature could silence warranted criticism or dissent, such as fact checks.
How it works: Users can hide replies to posts, but the comments will not be deleted. Other users can see the buried replies by tapping a grey icon that will appear directly on the tweets.
What they're saying: Suzanne Xie, director of product management for Twitter, said, "To give you more control over the conversations you start, we tested the option for you to hide replies to your Tweets."
- Xie added that some users involved in the test questioned how politicians and public figures would use the update. She said so far they have not hidden replies often.