Some Twitter users noticed a new feature in the app on Friday: a downvote button, reminiscent of those on other social platforms like Reddit and YouTube.
Before launch, the Twitter support account Announced Thursday that the downvote button would be available on the web and later on Android and iOS. Users with access to the new feature, which appears as an inverted arrow to the right of the heart-shaped “Like” button, will receive a notification when they open the website or app explaining how it works. Downvotes cannot be seen by the Tweet author or others on the timeline.
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But the new feature is only available in replies, not original posts, and according to Twitter, the point of the downvote button is to signal to the platform when a reply is offensive or irrelevant. Ultimately, Twitter hopes the downvote button will help the platform highlight high-quality content.
So will anyone actually use the new feature? Not everyone is so sure, with two sides entering the conversation: those who fear the downvote button will be overused, potentially silence marginalized groupsand that see it as an ineffective Band-Aid in the well-known topic of Twitter hate speech.
But in a short thread posted Thursday, Twitter argued that most users who select the downvote option do so because it solves the problems the platform wants to eliminate: offensiveness or irrelevance. Of course, only time will tell if that’s actually the case, as the platform continues to roll out the feature globally.
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Also, the downvote button was just one of several features introduced to the platform this week. On Wednesday, Twitter announced that all web and Android users around the world would have the option to add one-time warnings to photos and videos, with some iOS users seeing that option as well. Additionally, select iOS users will see a DM icon on tweets so they can reply directly and privately to an author, and in Brazil, an experimental feature urges users to rethink replies that contain harmful language.