US-based microblogging platform Twitter is planning to test new privacy-related features aimed at providing users more control over their follower lists and who can see their posts and likes, in an effort to help people feel more at ease chatting and sharing on the social network.
According to the reports, “The tools are related to what Twitter executives call “social privacy,” or how users manage their reputations and identities on the service.” This includes details such as a person’s followers, favorite tweets, and whether their accounts are public or private.
Among features being considered is the ability to edit follower lists, and a tool to archive old tweets so that they’re no longer visible to others after a specific amount of time designated by the user, as per the reports.
The company stated that hiding past tweets can be a popular feature with people who don’t want their posts to exist online forever, providing an easier option than manually deleting posts or combing through years-old messages to find those you wish you hadn’t sent.
According to the reports, the employees at Twitter are motivated by the fact that they frequently see users attempt innovative workarounds to get past the lack of these functionalities, such as blocking and then unblocking someone to remove them as a follower. Many other users go through the trouble of manually deleting previous tweets or switching between public and private accounts depending on what they’re tweeting.
Further, archiving tweets can aid alleviate fears for people who worry their old posts will come back to haunt them in some way down the road, such as while looking for a new job, applying for college or running for political office.
The rival companies like Snap and Instagram have seen success with their disappearing Stories offerings, indicating that users are drawn to apps where their posts aren’t permanent. “Twitter’s own Stories feature didn’t catch on with users, but a feature that does the same with tweets would likely be popular among users,” as per the reports.