IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Twitter begins a global test of a new feature: a downvote button

The social media company said Thursday that it was still experimenting with downvotes as a way to give feedback on offensive or irrelevant tweets.
Image: Twitter Headquarters
Twitter's headquarters in San Francisco in 2019.Glenn Chapman / AFP via Getty Images file

Twitter took a step Thursday toward adding a prominent new feature: a downvote button.

The social media company said it was expanding a test to a worldwide selection of people who use the app after it got what it said was positive feedback from a limited experiment announced in July.

"We are still in the learning stage of this experiment and are looking to gain a better understanding of how Reply Downvoting could help us better surface the most relevant content for people on Twitter in the future," the company said in a statement.

A similar feature has been a part of competitor Reddit since its founding in 2005, while Facebook has tried downvotes but never moved forward.

Twitter didn't say how many people had access to the test but said that it's a "global audience."

The feature could eventually affect what tweets get shown in which order on the site and its app, although Twitter said that for now, the downvotes are private and don't affect how replies are ordered.

Outside experts have said a downvote button has the potential to improve the quality of conversation on Twitter, but they've also expressed concern that it could be used to silence marginalized groups. Emoji-based reactions that Facebook added in 2016 inadvertently led to more toxicity on its platform, internal researchers found later.

So far, Twitter said, user feedback has been positive.

"A majority of our users shared that the reason they clicked the down arrow was either because the reply was perceived as offensive, or because they perceived it as not relevant, or both," the company said.

Early testers "agree it improves the quality of conversations on Twitter," it said.