Twitter’s bringing in a ‘hide replies’ function (available in Canada first), but will it work?

Twitter’s rolling out, first in Canada [a day after posting this the tool was temporarily suspended to fix a glitch], a new tool that lets someone hide replies to their tweets – thanks to @hapsome for tipping me off about this. This will streamline the thread though people will still be able to view what replies have been hidden, for transparency. This could be used in a positive way to quieten spam or other unhelpful replies but might also be used to downgrade tweets correcting your misinformation or merely disagreeing with you.

I’m in the UK so can’t test it yet but my immediate thought was, will the original tweeter be able to hide tweets in the thread that are sent to another reply in that thread, or only be able to act on tweets that are direct replies?

For example

You send a tweet
I send a daft reply [which you can hide]


You send a tweet
Someone else replies agreeing with you
I send a daft reply to them [but can you hide this one?]

If they can’t block replies that are sent in reply to someone else then I can’t really see the point of this new feature.

Most people actually pre-empt rogue replies from getting in the way by using the ‘add another tweet’ function in the preparation of a thread, before publishing all the threaded tweets together. This prevents anyone inserting a tweet into that thread (though they can add replies at the end) so that would seem to be a solution to maintain a thread’s integrity. [Edit – actually people can reply perfectly well to individual replies in a thread but Twitter seems to show them at the end anyway]

Incidentally replying to replies is also the way of getting a tweet in a thread of someone who’s blocked you, as you can’t reply to someone blocking you, but you can reply to a reply. It’s almost the same as the example above, with a slight variation.

You send a tweet
I can’t reply because you’ve blocked me


You send a tweet
Someone else replies to you
I reply to them so my tweet is now in your thread (or you can use this to reply to my thread if I’ve blocked you)

Hopefully people in Canada will find out what tweets in the thread they can hide, or I’ll get a chance to test it soon enough.

This also means that plenty of my answers on Quora are now instantly out of date 😉

Looks like people will be able to reply to hidden replies once they’ve spotted them in the ‘show hidden replies’ option, and the tweet to which they’re replying may show up as ‘Tweet Unavailable‘ to other people if viewing in the home timeline (see Twitter’s support page for replies linked below).

Further reading
Twitter launches the ‘Hide Replies’ feature, in hopes of civilizing conversations (17 July 2019) TechCrunch

See section on Hidden Replies in Twitter Support page on About Replies and Mentions Twitter

See more in the search results on Google for twitter canada hide replies


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