Some Twitter users noticed that there was a new feature in the app on Friday: a negative vote button, reminiscent of other social platforms like Reddit and YouTube.
Prior to launch, Twitter support account announced On Thursday, the negative vote button would be available on the web and later on Android and iOS. Users with access to the new feature, which appears as a down arrow to the right of the heart-shaped “like” button, will receive a notification when they open the website or app that explains how it works. The author of the tweet or other people on the timeline can’t see the votes against.
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But the new feature is only available in replies, not in original posts, and according to Twitter, the goal of the negative vote button is to tell the platform when a reply is offensive or irrelevant. Ultimately, Twitter hopes the negative vote button will help the platform highlight high-quality content.
So will anyone really use the new feature? Not everyone is so sure, with two camps coming into the conversation: those who fear the negative vote button will get used to the excess, potentially silencing marginalized groupsand those who see it as an ineffective band on the well-known problem of Twitter hate speech.
But in a brief thread posted on Thursday, Twitter maintained that most users who select the negative vote option do so because it meets the issues the platform wants to eliminate: offensive or irrelevant. Of course, only time will tell if this is really the case, as the platform continues with the global deployment of the feature.
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Also, the negative vote 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 timely warnings to photos and videos, and some iOS users would also see this option. In addition, selected iOS users will see a direct message icon in tweets so that they can reply directly and privately to an author, and in Brazil, an experimental feature urges users to rethink replies that contain harmful language.