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Twitter’s Downvote Button: All you Need to Know

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It is no secret that we have all been begging Twitter to bring about changes and new features. Heeding our requests, the social media giant has brought several unique components in the past few months. 

You can now follow and create spaces, change the home mode from Home to Latest Tweets, monetize your content, among other things. 

In 2020-2021, the “blue bird” began seeking public response to whether a ‘dislike’ button was needed on Twitter.

However, considering its adverse impacts on creator autonomy, the company did not expressively bring the Dislike button.

Instead, it came up with the idea of a ‘downvote’ button. Let’s have a close look at the feature’s prospects.

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What is the Downvote Button on Twitter?

If you are an active Twitter user, it is pretty much possible that you are seeing a downward arrow button while scrolling through replies on a particular tweet.

The button’s function is similar to the heart that you see on tweets. While the heart means you like the content, the arrow gives you an option to tell Twitter what you don’t want to see.

Please note that the downvote feature is only meant for Tweet replies and not Tweets.

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Is it Available to All Users?

Currently, it is not a permanent feature on Twitter and is available to only a select set of users for testing. Twitter had initially begun experimenting with it on iOS devices, but now the company has widened the scope to Android users.

Is the Downvote Feature Available on Twitter Web?

No. Presently, the downvote button is available only on Twitter’s mobile application.

As you can see there’s no downward arrow besides the heart in the desktop version of Twitter.

Features of the Downvote button

Not a Dislike Button

According to company officials, the downvote button on Twitter is not a dislike button. They feel that dislikes can affect the creator of the reply negatively and work as a mental hurdle the next time they engage in a conversation.

Instead, Twitter wants to use the downvote button to better understand user behavior. It aims to strengthen its algorithms further and ensure the quality of content on the platform remains intact.

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Downvotes are Private

Another interesting thing about the new feature is that only the person downvoting the reply knows about the same. Even the creator of the response is not told about the downvote.

However, I feel there’s no point in understanding user behavior this way. If the social media platform won’t tell the owner of the reply about the downvote, how would it ensure that it gets seen by as few people as possible?

Further, if I am downvoting something, I am doing it to express my dislike. But when the creator of the reply doesn’t see my downvote, what purpose would my intentions serve?

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No Change in The Order of Replies

Well, now it gets both exciting and contradictory. Twitter says that the downvoted replies will be made less visible compared to those that receive more likes.

It also says that downvotes won’t affect the order of the replies.

This makes things a bit messy. First, your downvote is private to you. Second, according to Twitter, your downvote doesn’t change the order of replies.

However, by pressing downvote, you express your dislike for a reply, but if the order won’t change, how would Twitter make sure you get to see less of it?

It is unclear what exactly is the purpose of the button.

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What is the Benefits of Twitter’s Downvote Button to Users?

An end to the war of words

For a long time, Twitter has been a platform for dirty fights between unknown people. 

Every time people read something against their opinions, a verbal fight ensues in the replies section. Though this mostly happens with tweets surrounding political beliefs, entertainment and sports are also areas where fans clash.

With a downvote button, you need not get into an argument. Simply press it and quell your discomfort poetically.

I say ‘poetically’ because the reply owner won’t ever know you downvoted their comment. It makes the feature a bit weak and half-hearted.

Is a Downvote Button Really Needed On Twitter?

I think a downvote button was much needed. However, the button is hardly of any use in its current form.

They probably wanted to be unique, so they didn’t go the Facebook or Quora way where the importance of a downvote is much more.

However, looking at the feature from another perspective, it is good that Twitter is sensitive towards the reply owners by keeping the downvote private. On several occasions, people might misuse the downvote button.

Moreover, the button would keep the number of replies to a minimum by giving mental satisfaction to people not agreeing with a particular view or opinion.

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Other Features Twitter Needs to Work On

Edit Tweet

It’s been ages since users have been asking for an edit option from Twitter. The company has done almost everything, from increasing the number of words in a tweet to allowing changing the order of images in a tweet.

The absence of post-edits makes Twitter rigid. There has to be some sort of liberty to change what you have written.

End to the Word Limit

Well, this is tough to accommodate since Twitter calls itself a micro-blogging platform. Removing the word limit would make it ‘macro’. Anyhow, jokes apart, more words would do away with the need to chain a tweet in threads.

Reportedly, Twitter is working on this and will soon roll out a test update for users.

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