Twitter is considering a range of new features designed to provide more protection and control for users, giving you more capacity to manage your in-app interactions and protect your content, in order to avoid being held to account for outdated views that you may have shared.

As reported by Bloomberg, Twitter is considering the new additions to help users feel more open in the app, without fear of judgment and criticism.

Among features being considered, according to Bloomberg’s report, are:

  • Archive old tweets – This option would enable users to archive their old tweets after a certain period of time so that they’re no longer visible to others. Users would be able to manually set a time as to when the archive would kick in, with 30, 60, and 90-day thresholds, or hiding tweets after a full year, being tested as potential options.
  • Remove individual accounts as followers – This has recently been spotted in testing, with Twitter working on an option that would enable users to remove specific profiles from their Follower list, without having to use the current block and unblock workaround. That could make it a less confrontational way to avoid certain users in the app.
Twitter remove follower
  • Remove yourself from a conversation – Also spotted in testing last month, this option would enable users to untag themselves from any discussion, and keep them from being mentioned again within that thread. The option was originally called ‘unmention yourself’, but Twitter says that the updated wording better clarifies what the function is.
Twitter Unmention Yourself
  • Hiding tweets that you’ve liked – Likes have always been a little confusing for Twitter users, with some seeing them as a level of endorsement, and others using them as a marker of things they want to read later, or similar. By hiding your liked tweets, that could remove any confusion, while also letting users feel more free in what they do on the platform, without consideration of judgment for such.

What all of these updates are really about is giving users more options for feeling free and open in how they share and engage on the platform, without having to worry about being torn down by Twitter mobs or having their old comments come back to haunt them, which may cause people to hold back on posting tweets and engaging in the comments section.

Because it is possible that this will be an issue. In a number of high-profile instances, we have seen how previous, ill-advised tweets may come back to haunt you and be used against you, especially if you wind up taking on a prominent, public-facing position as a result.

Film director James Gunn, for example, lost his job as director of the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ sequels back in 2018 after his old tweeted remarks were re-surfaced, while just recently, newly appointed ‘Jeopardy’ host Mike Richards was fired after offensive remarks he’d made in the past were discovered, make his position untenable.

Twitter’s short, sharp nature, combined with its emphasis on real-time response, can be ideal for those spontaneous, in-the-moment replies and comments. However, incidents like these highlight the dangers of doing so, and they may cause more people to be hesitant to share in the app, potentially limiting further Twitter engagement.

In order to make sharing your ideas nicely the app a little less constraining, Twitter experimented with ephemeral Fleets. A timed auto-delete option for your tweets would also fit in with this.

In a similar vein, Twitter has also introduced a new ‘Safety Mode’ feature this week, which is intended to provide some kind of protection from tweet pile-ons and ‘Cancel Culture,’ both of which may lead users to be more reluctant about expressing their views in the app.

The bottom line is that Twitter wants its users to comment and engage as much as possible, and elements such as these are a hindrance to that. As a result, the company is currently exploring new ways to help users feel more free in what they tweet, while also giving people more ways to avoid the more negative elements and becoming unwitting targets of abuse and scorn in the app.

Will that work?

Certainly archiving tweets makes sense – though there is always the Wayback Machine and other resources that will help online sleuths uncover old comments, if they really want to look.

Nonetheless, it may provide users with an additional layer of security and a greater sense of freedom – because, yes, some of the dumb things we tweeted in years past will be just that: dumb, ill-informed opinions that we have since moved past as part of our evolution and education, which should be commended rather than used to beat you with..

This is particularly true for younger individuals who have grown up online and have used social media as a means of expressing themselves throughout their formative years. People are going to have posted foolish things that they will later regret and wish they had not done.

An auto-archive feature would undoubtedly be useful in this situation, and more controls over who follows and mentions you, as well as the ability to hide Liked tweets from display, all seem to be potentially desirable considerations.