Twitter Is Experimenting With a Set of New Privacy Features

  • Twitter plans to introduce some new privacy-focused features to help users feel safer on the platform.
  • The goal is to free people from the various restraints they have around exposure, hence increasing engagement rates.
  • Some features will be implemented soon, others will follow months later, and a few may be rejected along the way.

Twitter is planning to introduce some new experimental privacy features to figure out what works best and maybe adopt some of them permanently. Privacy on social media is key in making users feel more comfortable posting stuff and engaging with others in lengthy conversations, knowing that they will have more granular control over what is shown publicly if they ever need to make adjustments to that. However, due to the nature of those platforms and the business models of their owners, privacy is typically getting the back seat.

The new features that are being tested in a limited scope right now are the following:

  • Hide the tweets you liked from others, and make your “approvals” private.
  • Unmention yourself from another person’s tweet and stop receiving alerts on any updates.
  • Bar someone from tagging you on their future posts.
  • Remove any followers you don’t want to have at will, instead of blocking them. This will still let them read your posts but will prevent them from interacting with you or your circle.
  • Hide/Archive older tweets and save yourself from future embarrassment or scrutiny. The options for this will include auto-removing posts after 30, 60, 90 days, or after a year.

Several of the above are being tested already (unmention), others will roll out later this month (remove followers), and some are still being conceptualized (hide old tweets). As such, there’s no concrete timeline of what to expect when, let alone any idea of what may have better chances of staying permanently. However, all of the above are good privacy-boosting options that Twitter users should welcome.

Something that would make the situation even better would be to add auto-deletion of older tweets or give users the option to purge all older tweets at once. Right now, there’s no such thing on the platform, so the only option that users have is to manually delete their posts one by one.

Obviously, Twitter doesn’t want to offer that option because, according to the GDPR, they would have to delete the relevant data from their servers too (right to be forgotten). By hiding the older posts, they are still keeping everything while giving the users some level of control.

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