Global micro-blogging site Twitter is planning the addition of new privacy features on its platforms, one of which will reportedly be the inclusion of an option that will allow the archiving of old tweets so that they are only visible to other users after a set period of time (like 30, 60 or 90 days to a full year).
Other options could possibly include a feature to limit who can see which tweets you’ve liked, an option to allow people to remove themselves from a conversation on Twitter and to allow people to remove followers without having to block them.
According to The Verge, these new features, still in the concept phase, are being described as a “social privacy” suite of options aimed at making more people comfortable with engaging on Twitter.
Internal research at the social network apparently discovered that many users don’t even understand or know if their accounts are set to private or public – something the company will begin asking users to review in September.
“At Twitter, privacy is more than what we do with your data, it’s also about how we help you feel safe and in control of how you show up on Twitter,” a spokesperson told The Verge.
“We understand that there’s no one size fits all approach to privacy, so we’re excited to roll out more features and tools to empower people on Twitter to customize their experience. Our focus on social privacy is inspired by feedback we received through a global research study we conducted to better understand people’s perceptions of and needs for privacy around the globe. We’ll begin testing some of these features as soon as next week.”
As of right now, there’s no timeline for the planned archiving or tweet limiting options to be implemented as they are very early in development, but they represent a feature that could be important for many of its users.
Cancel Culture on Twitter
In the last several years, the advent of “cancel culture” has seen the more embarrassing or controversial tweets of users being dug up to cause professional or social harm. We have all seen “This you?” posts quote tweeting things others have posted in the past, usually for comedic derision or to downplay a user’s opinion.
In 2018, Hollywood director James Gunn was fired from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise over several ill-natured jokes he made on the app from 2009 and 2010 which were discovered by users and then brought to light.
“The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him,” said Alan Horn, Walt Disney Studios chairman at the time.
Disney’s overreaction was to be expected, even if it was short-lived (Gunn is returning to direct the third installment of the Guardians series set for release in 2023). However, it points to the dangers of professionals on social media, where tweets made years ago can be used to ruin careers today. Who knows what will be, or not be acceptable to say in the future?
This new feature from Twitter could remedy this to a point if it does indeed come to the network soon.