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The Pulse: Twitter tests out a down-vote feature, Instagram improves the in-app experience for visually-impaired users, and Meta adds personal boundary zones in VR

Twitter tests out a new down-vote feature

Last July, Twitter initially rolled out the “down-vote” option, which for many users, was misconstrued as a “dislike” button. However, Twitter describes the button as a way to minimize spam or otherwise irrelevant content. While the number of downvotes on a Tweet won’t be public, some users fear that the new feature is a step towards “shadowbanning”- the act of partially obscuring the visibility of a user’s content. At its core, the downvote feature aims to provide a space where content is optimized for the user, where the most engaging content is at the forefront.

“…This experiment also revealed that downvoting is the most frequently used way for people to flag content they don’t want to see. Finally, people who have tested downvoting agree it improves the quality of conversations on Twitter.”

Read more on Social Media Today

Instagram is improving its in-app experience for visually impaired users

Instagram is in the works of redeveloping its UI and post-labelling to make it more visually-impaired friendly. The initial post-labelling process individually highlighted each UI feature, resulting in an overdrawn process for visually-impaired users. Instagram will be simplifying the post layout in order to ensure the seamless ability to explore in-app is always present. Likewise, post-actions (likes, comments, shares, etc.) will be moved to a central location for a simplified UI.

“These improvements simplified navigation by representing each individual post as one focusable element and reduced swipe time between posts from minutes to just seconds.”

Learn more here

Meta adds “personal boundary” zones in VR

It seems that even in the digital realm, safety is still a major concern. As the Metaverse becomes a larger facet of life, so do the inherent implications of a largely unregulated space. Recently, multiple women have come forward with complaints of harassment in the VR space. In response, Meta has introduced “personal boundary” zones, in which users can exist harassment-free. The existence of these zones begs the question, as VR becomes commonplace, how are we ensuring these spaces stay inclusive and safe for all? Is it even possible? As Meta has repeatedly reiterated, social media is simply a reflection of larger societal trends.

“We invest billions of dollars each year in people and technology to keep our platform safe. We have tripled — to more than 35,000 — the people working on safety and security. We’re a pioneer in artificial intelligence technology to remove hateful content at scale.”   – Nick Clegg, VP of Global Affairs & Communications at Meta

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