Twitter's 'downvote' button test begins rolling out globally

'Downvotes aren’t public, but they'll help inform us of the content people want to see.'


Twitter is expanding its test of a "downvote" button to a select group of users around the world, it announced. The company said it received "positive feedback" from its initial experiments last July. "We learned a lot about the types of replies you don't find relevant and we're expanding this test –– more of you on web and soon iOS and Android will have the option to use reply downvoting," the company said in a tweet.

Twitter said that as before, the number of downvotes a reply gets will not be visible to the public, and users' downvotes will only be visible to them. In the first round of tests, Twitter offered different versions of downvoting. Some saw upvote and downvote buttons, while others only saw a downvote button next to the heart/like option. A third version showed testers thumbs up and down buttons instead. Twitter didn't say if the new global tests would offer the same options.

Twitter said that a majority of users "clicked the down arrow... because the reply was perceived as offensive, or because they perceived it as not relevant, or both." Downvoting also became the most frequently used way for people to flag content they don't want to see, the company added.

Reddit has used downvotes since it started in 2005, as it referenced in a tweet reply to Twitter's initial downvote experiment. Facebook also tested downvotes back in 2018, but it never became a permanent feature. Instagram, meanwhile, lets users hide likes as a way to remove some of the negative pressure associated with the service.

Like, dislikes, downvotes and reaction emojis are often cited by social media critics as features that can either improve conversations or make them more toxic. So far, according to Twitter, the experiment has been positive. "People who have tested downvoting agree it improves the quality of conversations on Twitter," Twitter Safety said. "We're excited to see how others think of it as it becomes available to more of you."