2021 has proved to be a very busy year for Twitter’s development team. This time, the platform is working to implement something new to help determine what replies are and aren’t relevant to its online discussions.
Twitter May Be Borrowing One of Reddit’s Core Features
Twitter is considering adding upvotes and downvotes to replies to your tweets. The company announced that it’s beginning a “small research experiment” to test the potentially upcoming feature.
It looks like upvotes and downvotes on Twitter will function very similarly to that of Reddit—the idea is that you can upvote tweets you like or agree with, and downvote the ones you dislike or are in opposition of.
Only you will be able to see your own downvotes, while your upvotes will contribute to the tweet’s like count. Twitter also went out of its way to emphasize that the downvote option is not a dislike button:
This isn’t quite a dislike button. 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. We want to better understand the types of replies you do and don’t find relevant in a convo [conversation].
Votes will not change the order of which replies are displayed on the app. You may also find that you and another user in the test group have different icons for the upvote and downvote buttons.
For some, the icons for the upvote and downvote are up and down arrows enclosed in a circle. For others, they instead appear as thumbs-up and thumbs-down icons. This is presumably just a visual test for the UI design. The feature works the same way regardless.
At the time of writing, the test is limited to users on iOS devices.
The Response to Twitter’s Upvote and Downvote Experiment
Twitter’s proposal, to add upvote and downvote buttons, was met with mostly negative criticism. It didn’t take long at all for users to pepper the replies of the company’s announcement tweet.
The most popular concern seems to be that users are convinced that the new feature will only allow hateful users to harass other people anonymously. Which is, quite frankly, a pretty reasonable assumption to make.
Twitter has had a bit of an underlying bad reputation since its inception, simply because the nature of the platform allows you to throw almost any comment out into the open internet. Instantly, and it’s easy to hide your identity behind a username if you so choose.
Users also took the opportunity to suggest other features that they think should be added instead, like a tweet gallery for artists/photographers, or an edit button—which is a request that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey refuses to grant.
But the best part of all this might be Reddit’s response. The forum site simply replied to Twitter with a meme, captioned “Interesting.” At the time of writing, the reply has four times the number of likes that the original tweet has.