Ubiquitous social media network Twitter is currently testing Reddit-like upvote and downvote buttons in efforts to highlight replies in long tweet threads that are considered most interesting by users.
Some of you on iOS may see different options to up or down vote on replies. We're testing this to understand the types of replies you find relevant in a convo, so we can work on ways to show more of them.
Your downvotes aren’t public, while your upvotes will be shown as likes. pic.twitter.com/hrBfrKQdcY
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 21, 2021
Twitter says it will begin what it’s calling a “small research experiment” that will see the addition of upvote and downvote buttons to tweet replies.
In terms of other changes users may see in the experiment – the ‘Like’ button may be replaced entirely by the new buttons. In some cases, the upvote and downvote buttons may appear as up arrows and down arrows, while in others they may appear as a thumbs up or a thumbs down.
In some tester groups, users may continue to see the Like button with a downvote button alongside. In this particular group, the Like button counts as the upvote, according to Twitter.
According to Tech Crunch, only a small number of testers will see these options appear in their Twitter iOS app, and user votes – either up or down – will not be public.
Twitter says that it isn’t using the voting information to rank the replies at this time. However, if the system does become public, this could change.
Why This Could Prove Important for Twitter
The goal of this new experiment is to help the company learn what sorts of replies users finds most relevant and engaging during their conversations in threads – something that Twitter has studied for some time now.
Past studies on this topic determined that users believed replies that were informative, positive, and funny were the ‘best’ types of replies, according to Twitter user researcher Cody Elam.
Today, we’re launching an experiment for voting within replies — a way to give us feedback on what replies you find most relevant.
How did research and exploration get us here? ⬇️ https://t.co/hvmNuXvs9S
— Cody Elam (@codyelam) July 21, 2021
Twitter is hoping that the upvote, downvote system will ensure that the best replies surface quickly and not get buried beneath conversation.
Elam says that the feature will also help users to privately voice their opinions on tweet replies without having to publicly shame other users and that, over time, this data could improve the social media’s conversation ranking system.
Twitter Tests Emoji Reactions
This isn’t the first instance of Twitter thinking about or testing to expand its UI engagement features. Last month, the company began testing Facebook-like emoji reactions for Tweets.
Twitter is working on Tweet Reactions view:
“Likes”, “Cheer”, “Hmm”, “Sad”, “Haha”
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) May 28, 2021
The reaction system tests seem to have been somewhat successful, as the system appears nearly complete.