A select number of Twitter users are reportedly being selected to test a Twitter dislike button for replies on posts. On Monday, several users reported that they received a notification from their app letting them know that they have been given the option to select a down arrow on replies that appears alongside typical options like re-tweeting, liking and quote tweeting. The notification reportedly makes it clear that the Twitter dislike button is not visible to the author — meaning if you have it, you can tap it with reckless abandon knowing that you’re not going to be hurting anyone’s feelings because you believe they posted some heinous or unfunny garbage.
Instead, the notification from Twitter explains that the new Twitter dislike button is simply a way to help its algorithm understand what kind of replies people find useful on posts. By getting select users to downvote certain content, it can get an idea of what it should float to the top when it comes to showing its users thoughtful, engaging replies that people actually care about.
So, to the person who still thinks it’s hilarious to comment the word “first!” on a high-profile figure’s tweet, the Twitter dislike button is here to put an end to your hacky, early 2010 ways.
This isn’t the first time that a Twitter dislike button has been available in some form to a select number of users. In July CNET reported that a select cadre of iOS users were given an upvote and downvote function in many formats — including the one for a Twitter dislike that people are reporting now. Others, however, included simple thumbs up and thumbs down buttons.
The official Twitter Support account at the time noted, as the new notification people who just got the Twitter dislike button are seeing does, that it was just a test and that your upvotes and (more importantly) your downvotes are not going to be seen by the author, so no one’s feelings are going to get wrapped up in this — yet. It simply wants to surface replies that the individual users find relevant to a given conversation.
The Twitter Support channel followed up at the time by noting that it did not consider this a Twitter dislike button and that downvotes wouldn’t change the order in which replies surface on a given tweet. However, it’s unclear if that’s still the case given that most users are only reporting a downvote or Twitter dislike button rather than any kind of upvote — other than the typical “like.” So far, no official communication has come out from the social media giant regarding this apparent new wave of Twitter dislike buttons.
The Verge notes that the Twitter dislike button that people are seeing today is just one of many tests that Twitter has done over the years to offer users more ways to interact with tweets. Obviously the up and downvote functions reported in July draw parallels to Reddit, where such a system allows users to dictate what conversations are most relevant and therefore rise to the top. Meanwhile, it reportedly also tested a function that allowed users to react with emojis similar to the reactions that are now ubiquitous on Facebook. It seems it’s anyone’s guess at the moment whether the Twitter dislike button is here to stay or not.