NEW YORK — Twitter is letting all users hide unwanted replies to their tweets as part of a broader effort to make the platform less toxic.
On Thursday, the company announced it’s rolling out the feature globally. It had been testing the option earlier this year in select countries, including Canada, Japan and the US.
“Currently, repliers can shift the topic or tone of a discussion and derail what you and your audience want to talk about,” Twitter wrote in a blog post. “We learned that the feature is a useful new way to manage your conversations.”
Twitter users can now hide replies to their tweets by tapping the gray icon that appears on their post and selecting “hide reply.” Those replies will be moved to a different page, where they can still be viewed by other users. To see the hidden replies, users can select the “hidden reply” icon on the tweet.
Twitter will also ask if the owner of the account would like to block the person whose reply they hid.
The move is Twitter’s latest effort to improve well-being on its service. The company also said it’s looking into other ways to tackle this issue, such as exploring who can reply to or see certain conversations.
The new tool could be used to block replies that are spammy or unrelated to the content of the tweet. They could also be used to silence harassment, trolls or people with opposing viewpoints.
During the testing phase of the feature, Twitter said users mostly hid replies they thought were irrelevant, off topic or “annoying.” Twitter also said public figures, such as politicians and reporters, aren’t hiding replies “very often.”
However, some users may be hesitant to hide replies because they’re concerned about backlash from the replier, as they’ll be able to see that their comment has been hidden. Twitter said it will “continue to get feedback on this.”
Other social media platforms are also thinking about how to make their services less stressful and toxic. Instagram and its parent company Facebook are testing hiding “likes” to improve mental health. Likes are often used as a metric of popularity, and users can feel pressure to rack up a lot of them on their posts.