Twitter is running an experiment that lets iPhone users downvote a reply to a tweet. It tests allowing users to actively show that they disagree with a response to a post on the social-networking service.
Twitter is often a venue for people to angrily argue politics, sports, entertainment, etc. Giving people the ability to downvote each other isn’t likely to calm the storm.
Twitter announced the experiment Wednesday (on Twitter, of course).
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.
Your downvotes aren’t public, while your upvotes will be shown as likes. pic.twitter.com/hrBfrKQdcY
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 21, 2021
It says the purpose of the experiment is to “understand the types of replies you find relevant in a convo, so we can work on ways to show more of them.” But this could indicate Twitter is considering displaying replies to tweets in the order of popularity. Currently, replies show up in chronological order, with the first at the top.
A limited Twitter downvote experiment
Apparently, the experiment is only for a limited number of iPhone users. No Androids need apply, at least for now.
The test groups’ upvotes count as “likes,” while downvotes are only seen by Twitter during testing. And there’s no button to register disagreement with original tweets. The new upvote and downvote buttons appear only on replies.
Whether downvoting will become a feature of Twitter at some point in the future remains unknown at this time. But it wouldn’t exactly break new ground — rival social networking service Facebook lets users express a variety of emotions about posts and replies.
This isn’t the only experiment Twitter is running now, either. Earlier this month, it began exploring a new “trusted friends” feature.