What you need to know
- Twitter is testing a new downvote option so it can see which tweets we don't like to see.
- The company is very keen that we don't call them dislikes.
Twitter has confirmed that some iPhone users might be seeing a new option to downvote tweets — but whatever you do, don't call them dislikes. Twitter is very adamant about that!
In a tweet via its Twitter Support account, Twitter confirmed that it's testing the button to see which replies people like and don't like. Importantly, downvotes won't be made public while upvotes will appear as likes to everyone else.
Twitter is also very clear that the new downvote button isn't a dislike button, although that seems to be nothing more than semantics to me.
- This is just a test for research right now.
- This is not a dislike button.
- Your downvotes are visible to you only.
- Votes won't change the order of replies.
The fact this is for research suggests that Twitter is simply having users train its algorithm for a future change in the way tweets and replies will be displayed. Following ongoing problems with abuse on its platform, Twitter is working on new ways to ensure the bad stuff doesn't find its way through to the users it's aimed at — and this could just be another step towards that goal.
Despite this, the news was received poorly by the people replying to the announcement tweet. People would rather Twitter take meaningful action against those who abuse its service, something it has historically struggled to do.
It's also important to remember that this new button change will only appear on iPhones and even then, only on some users' accounts. Those users will need to use the official Twitter app as well. It's far from the best iPhone app out there, but as more features appear as exclusives to Twitter's own apps, it makes it more difficult to recommend the third-party alternatives that made Twitter so popular in the first place.