Twitter will be testing the use of Reddit-like upvote and downvote buttons as a way to better highlight more interesting and relevant answers in longer conversation threads. company announced This afternoon it will launch what it’s calling a “little research experiment” that will add upvote and downvote buttons to answers, or even replace “like” buttons entirely. In some cases, the upvote and downvote buttons may be the up arrow and down arrow, while in other cases they may be the thumbs up and thumbs down buttons.
And in a bunch of testers, users may continue to see a “Like” button (red heart), but will now find a downvote button next to it. In this group, upvotes will be counted as “likes”, Twitter said.
Twitter clarified to ClearTips that only a small number of testers will be able to see these options in its Twitter iOS app, and users’ votes will not be public.
The company also said that it is not using this vote information to rank answers at this time. (If, however, such a system ever becomes a public facility, that could certainly change.)
The goal with the test is to help Twitter learn what types of replies users find most relevant during their conversations, which is something Twitter has studied for some time. According to Twitter user researcher Cody Elam, previous studies determined that users believed that informative, helpful, positive and funny answers were the “best” types of answers. However, some of the best answers won’t emerge quickly enough – an issue that Twitter hopes to be able to address with an upvoting and downvoting feature.
The alum says the feature will allow users to privately voice their opinion on the quality of answers without publicly shaming other users. Over time, this data could help Twitter improve its conversation ranking system.
If Twitter acts on this information to actually rank replies, it could make longer Twitter threads easier and more enjoyable to read – such as those that follow viral tweets, for example. But it can also help better display answers that add something informative or interesting or even just funny to the conversation while pushing any trolling comments to the bottom of the thread.
Today, Twitter allows users to manually hide replies that distract from the conversation by placing them behind an extra click. Perhaps, over time, it could do something similar for answers that also get a lot of downvotes – as does reddit. But to be clear, none of this type of feature is being tested yet.
This isn’t the first time Twitter has shown interest in other types of engagement buttons besides Like and Retweet. Earlier this year, for example, Twitter was seen surveying users about their interest in a broader set of emoji-style responses than you’ll find on Facebook. is in that facility Ever since put into development, appears to be.
In the same survey, apart from emoji reaction, users were also asked about the upvote and downvote buttons.
Twitter says the test is now rolling out on iOS only for a small group.