Twitter users worldwide now have the option of hiding replies to their tweets.
Twitter said in a blog post that users worldwide can now choose to hide replies to their tweets. People can see those replies and engage with them by tapping the grey icon that appears when tweets are hidden.
The social network added, “This way, you have more control over the conversations you start, but people can still see the entire conversation.”
The new feature can be helpful to brands on the platform, as well.
It can be used to hide irrelevant and spammy replies and reduce unwanted noise in conversations with potential customers, but Twitter cautioned against brands taking this too far and removing critical options about products or services, which is one reason why hidden replies can still be viewed by clicking on the grey icon or drop-down menu.
Twitter global vice president of client solutions Sarah Personette said in an email, “Conversation—two-way dialog—has been the biggest gift Twitter has added to the brand-consumer relationship. With the global rollout, we’re giving marketers and consumers more control over the conversations they start. This builds on options—like our in-stream video solution—that we already offer to marketers to manage what their content shows up next to.”
Twitter shared what it learned during its extensive testing of the feature.
The social network found that it was used most often when people thought replies were irrelevant, off-topic or annoying, and that 85% of people who hid replies to tweets are not using Twitter’s block or mute functions.
Twitter added that public figures on its platform, such as politicians and journalists, did not opt to hide replies to their tweets very often.
In its testing in Canada, Twitter found that 27% of people who had their replies to tweets hidden said they would reconsider how they interacted with others in the future, and users in that country found the feature to be a useful way to manage what they saw, much like muted keywords.
The social network also found that people who hid replies to tweets often wish to take further action, so it will begin checking to see if those people want to block the repliers.
Finally, some people mentioned to Twitter that they didn’t want to hide replies due to fear of retaliation, due to the visible icon, and the social network said it will continue to seek feedback on this front.
Twitter said in its blog post, “Everyone should feel safe and comfortable while talking on Twitter. To make this happen, we need to change how conversations work on our service. Currently, repliers can shift the topic or tone of a discussion and derail what you and your audience want to talk about.”
The social network added, “Looking ahead, we’re working on new controls and more clarity around the rules of conversation spaces. Soon, we’ll be launching a new hide replies endpoint so that developers can build additional conversation management tools. We’re exploring more options around who can reply to or see specific conversations, and we are testing engagement changes to see if these lead to healthier discussions. We’re committed to making sure people feel safe and comfortable talking on Twitter.”