New Delhi: Twitter has introduced a feature that will allow users to hide replies to their tweets and give them more control over the conversations they initiate, the social media platform said on Friday. At present, replies to tweets are visible to everyone, inviting unwanted attention, hate or abuse.

“Everyone should feel safe and comfortable while talking," Twitter said in a blog post. “Earlier, repliers could shift the topic or tone of a discussion and derail what they and their audience wanted to talk about. Twitter tested the option for people to hide replies to their tweets, and learned that the feature is a useful new way to manage conversations."

However, while a user can choose to hide replies to tweets, everyone will be able to see and engage with hidden replies by tapping a grey icon that will appear on the tweets. So, while Twitter is offering more control to its users over the conversations they start, it will also offer transparency.

In its internal survey, Twitter said people mostly hide replies they think are irrelevant, off-topic, or annoying. The new feature is a way to shut out noise; 85% of the people who hide replies are not using block or mute. People were curious to see how public figures, such as politicians and journalists, will use this update.

In Canada, 27% of the users who had their tweets hidden said they would reconsider how they interact with others in the future. Also, they thought it was a helpful way to manage what they saw, similar to muted keywords. People may want to take further action after they hide a reply, and Twitter will now check whether they want to block a replier.

Some people even mentioned that they didn’t want to hide replies due to the fear of retaliation as the icon remains visible. Twitter also said it was working on new controls and more clarity around the rules of conversation spaces. It plans to launch a new ‘hide replies’ endpoint soon so that developers can build additional conversation management tools. “The services is exploring more options around who can reply to or see specific conversations, and is testing engagement changes to see if these lead to healthier discussions," it said. The option to hide replies is rolling out globally on iOS, Android, Twitter and Twitter.com.

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