It looks like we might be having a “Reply downvotes” feature in Twitter sometime in the future. The feature is still being worked on, and has not been officially released for public testing.
The reply downvotes feature was spotted by reliable reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong. From the screenshot she posted on her Twitter page, downvotes will not be made public and will not be shared with the tweet author. Other people on your timeline will also not have access to the reply downvote.
When you see or come across a reply that does not seem relevant to your post, the reply downvotes feature can be used. My first thought was that it would affect users emotionally when their replies are downvoted. On a second though, this might not be the case since it will be hidden from the public.
In related news, Twitter wants its Birdwatch contributors protected. To this end, the social media giant is adding aliases to its Birdwatch fact check program.
Twitter’s Birdwatch has been a pilot project since the start of the year. The program involves crowdsourcing fact checks directly from other users on the platform.
Going forward, participants will be able to conceal their identity whenever they append a note to a user’s tweet. Twitter said it will automatically generate aliases for new Birdwatch users that are not publicly associated with their accounts.
“We want everyone to feel comfortable contributing to Birdwatch, and aliases let you write and rate notes without sharing your Twitter username,” Twitter said in a blog post.
The social media giant said users will have 5 random options to pick from when it comes to choosing an alias. It however adds that choices cannot be changed “at this time.”
Twitter is also rolling out profile pages that will make it easy to see the past Birdwatch of a user’s contributions. Twitter said this is necessary to ensure aliases do not come “at the expense of accountability.”
To this end, each note on a user’s public profile will include the current rating that contribution has earned. This is to let you know what the community thinks of it.
In October 2020, Twitter announced that it was working on a new experimental tool to help in the fight against fake news. Birdwatch is one of the company’s attempts at ridding its platform of misinformation. The social media giant will hope this tool works; though, it acknowledges the fact that more still needs to be done.