By: Nick Gambino
Facebook has confirmed they’re testing a new button that will allow users to “downvote” a comment.
Contrary to initial speculation, it’s not a dislike button. Facebook has toyed with the concept of a dislike button in the past but thankfully have never committed to the concept. With the negativity rampant throughout social media, a thumbs down button would probably only add to it.
The downvote button, which is being tested with a select number of users, is simply a way to make a public comment disappear from the screen of the user who downvoted it. It appears in the same row of buttons as “Like” and “Reply.”
“We are not testing a dislike button,” a spokesperson from Facebook confirmed to The Verge. “We are exploring a feature for people to give us feedback about comments on public page posts. This is running for a small set of people in the US only.”
In addition to making the comment disappear, users will then have the option of labeling the comment “misleading,” “offensive” or “off topic.” This should assist Facebook in helping you see more of what you want to see.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently stated his intention to make sure people were having more meaningful interactions on Facebook, “We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being.”
This seems to be a step in that same direction. Facebook did clarify that this downvote feature is specifically for public comments made on Pages, for the time being. In other words, they’re not looking at helping you censor your own feeds.
The feature has proven successful on Reddit where the community pretty much controls what’s popular and what’s not with an upvote and downvote ranking system.
For now, the button is in limited testing, so we’ll have to wait to see if it sees mass export or fades into the ethers. It’s not a bad idea if you want to see less vitriol showing up in the comments section.
Then again, we could all just spend less time on Facebook and more time reading books and having in-person discussions…nah!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.