Twitter Tests Out Downvote Feature

Users can downvote content they find offensive or irrelevant.

Users can downvote content they find offensive or irrelevant.

Since last year, Twitter has been quietly experimenting with a new feature: downvotes. The feature was only made available to a few select users using Twitter from desktops, but today, the feature was expanded to more users around the world using Twitter from mobile devices as well.

As opposed to the dislike systems found on platforms like YouTube or Reddit, Twitter’s downvoting system isn’t intended to express dislike with content, but rather to help users filter out content they consider offensive, irrelevant, or just generally unpleasant. Downvotes aren’t shown publicly, they are only used to influence the kind of content a user sees in feed.

According to Twitter’s analytics, downvoting seems to have gotten a positive reception, as it’s an easier, less intense way to control the content in one’s feed than muting or flagging threads. Based on what they’ve seen, downvoting appears to “improves the quality of conversations on Twitter,” which means there’s a decent chance the feature could become a normal part of the platform.

Some are concerned that adding a downvoting mechanic could lead to mass-downvoting efforts as an effort to silence those with dissenting opinions, a concern YouTube cited when they removed the numbers from their dislike system. Many have countered, however, that not having any means of showing dislike allows sub-par content to flood a user’s feed.

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