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Twitter introduces Hide Replies feature in the US and Japan even as controversy over its functioning rages

Twitter announced it is all set to introduce its new ‘Hide Replies’ feature in the US and Japan. This comes after the micro-blogging site said they met with largely positive results of the feature that was introduced in only Canada so far on an experimental basis; to the extent that they feel comfortable introducing the feature in more regions.

The ‘Hide Replies’ feature also happens to be one of the more radical new features the company adopted in recent times. With this, users now have the option to keep any tweet they feel is disturbing or irrelevant from being visible in the conversation.

However, what needs to be kept in mind is that the tweets aren’t getting deleted. Rather, they are just being kept out of view and users have to specifically click on a link to view the hidden tweets. This way, the user who started the conversion has greater power to keep only those tweets they feel is relevant to the topic on hand while keeping at bay those they feel are either abusive, unnecessary or is of bullying nature.

That is a good thing too as Twitter, similar to any social platform, has also been witness to large scale hate-mongering and other such disruptive activities. There have often been instances of people or groups out to disrupt someone else’s conversation in an organized fashion.

Twitter also offers means to tackle such tweets, which includes the option to mute, block or report users that anyone feels is objectionable. However, muting or blocking anyone can also be counterproductive considering that such acts will only keep the unpleasant tweets out of view of the user who initiated the mute or block options. Such tweets will continue to be available to everyone else.

In that respect, the new Hide feature has also been criticized by many as it gives sweeping powers to anyone to keep a tweet out of view of all. The same applies to even those tweets that might be actually meaningful and well thought out. This way, the Hide feature can be misused to suppress dissent or keeping those people out who have an opposing viewpoint.

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Twitter, however, argues hidden tweets are not deleted and are just a click away from being viewed. So, for anyone to have a more balanced view of any conversation, they would do good to keep a view on the hidden tweets as well. However, it’s not known if tweets that have been marked as hidden can be brought back to the mainstream by someone else who finds it to be relevant.