Twitter rolls out new upvote-downvote system test for tweet replies
While Twitter may not have given in to users' longstanding requests for an "Edit Tweet" option, the microblogging platform has finally started testing a dislike button with a new Reddit-inspired upvote/downvote system on tweet replies. The company said that different styles will be experimented with to figure out what suits Twitterati best. However, Twitter emphasized the thumbs down button isn't a dislike button.
Twitter stresses that downvote doesn't equal a dislike button
Platforms like Facebook were expected to feature a dislike button but ended up incorporating post reactions instead. Twitter has since tested reactions on its platform as well, now followed by an upvote/downvote system. Twitter said, "In this research experiment, the thumbs down icon is a down vote that lets us know that you think the reply isn't relevant to the conversation."
Tweet replies won't be ranked based on upvote/downvote ratio
For now, Twitter has rolled out the downvote button only on tweet replies and not on tweets themselves. Unlike Reddit where comments are ranked based on the upvotes they get, Twitter's system will not display tweet replies with the most upvotes at the top. In fact, users won't even be notified of downvotes. Upvote or like notifications will, however, be delivered as usual.
Is this another attempt to encourage more active tweeting?
Twitter recently discontinued the Fleets feature that showed full-screen tweets that disappear in 24 hours. At the time, the company said that it would experiment with other ways to encourage tweets. While this experiment appears to be an effort in that direction, knowing that tweet replies have been downvoted could be detrimental to the mental health of Twitter users.
Twitter Support announced the new test feature
Some of you on iOS may see different options to up or down vote on replies. We're testing this to understand the types of replies you find relevant in a convo, so we can work on ways to show more of them.— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 21, 2021
Your downvotes aren’t public, while your upvotes will be shown as likes. pic.twitter.com/hrBfrKQdcY
Test rolled out for select iOS users for now
Seemingly in an attempt to address potential mental health concerns stemming from the downvote button, Twitter has hidden the total number of downvotes that a reply receives from the get-go. Also, the new test is only accessible to select iOS users at the moment. Twitter said it is experimenting with various styles of implementing the new system.
Has Twitter hidden the downvote count to prevent mass downvoting?
Recently, Instagram introduced an option to hide the number of likes on a post. The platform wanted to discourage people from liking a post just because it was popular and had many likes. Twitter's decision to hide the downvote count could be with similar intentions.
Twitter will test various implementations of upvote/downvote system
In images shared via the Twitter Support handle, the microblogging platform showed that new separate buttons could be introduced for upvotes and downvotes, or a downvote button could be added beside the existing like button on replies. Another implementation shows thumbs up and thumbs down buttons replacing the up and down arrow buttons for upvotes and downvote buttons, respectively.
Unclear if upvote/downvote options would come to tweets too
At the time of publishing, it remains unclear if Twitter will eventually expand the upvote/downvote system to a broader set of users. It is also unclear if the feature will only be for tweet replies or will eventually be available for tweets as well.