Twitter now lets its users hide replies to their tweets. This will, in all likelihood, help them control how conversations unfold on the social media platform. One news report says this is part of its efforts to make the online experience less toxic. Those responding to a tweet can “shift the topic or tone of a discussion and derail what you and your audience want to talk about". Valid concerns, for sure. After all, posts on Twitter are open to unsolicited responses, even brickbats, that a user may not want others to see. The company had been testing its “hide" option in Canada, Japan and the US, and it seems to be a success.

However, the new option is just a half measure. The hidden replies get moved to a different page, where they can still be viewed by other users. On the face of it, this seems to defeat the purpose. It could even end up drawing more attention to offensive or irrelevant content. So, in trying to strike a balance between assuring users control and keeping its platform open, is Twitter in no-man’s land—neither here nor there? Not really. This new feature could be an asset to intelligent conversations that are open to the public and need to filter out noise.

As with most technology, whether or not Twitter’s hide feature fulfils its purpose may depend on the discretion with which a user exercises the option. To the extent that Twitter has acted in favour of letting us moderate the threads that tail our words, it’s a good thing.

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