Twitter to test new privacy tools that could reduce cancel culture

Twitter is reportedly working on testing new privacy features that would give users more control over who can see their tweets and likes as well as their follower list, a move that could reduce social media “cancel culture.”

The new tools are related to what Twitter calls “social privacy” and will allow users to manage their brand and identities on the platform better, Bloomberg reported.

New features being considered include the ability to remove followers, which is currently only possible by blocking someone; archiving tweets, which will let users hide or delete old tweets after a set amount of time; hiding who can view tweets a user has liked; and leaving conversations, which will allow users to remove themselves from a public conversation or debate on Twitter.

Part of what is driving Twitter’s testing of these new privacy tools is that many individuals and companies across the United States have become increasingly worried about the effects of “cancel culture” — a result of public admonitions made by Twitter users and influencers.

“When social privacy needs are not met, people limit their self-expression,” Svetlana Pimkina, a staff researcher at Twitter, told Bloomberg. “They withdraw from the conversation.”

Twitter’s internal research found many users don’t understand how privacy works on the platform, such as whether their account is publicly visible or not, and this causes some users to engage less on Twitter because they are worried about what others can or can’t see about them, Pimkina said.

Over the past year, many companies and brands have made changes to their names, logos, or product lines to be more culturally sensitive, and a number of employees have been reprimanded or fired because of old content on social media.

The social media giant will start testing some of these features this month.