Many people have been clamoring for a “dislike” button on Facebook for years and the social media giant even tested out a dislike button last year. However, Facebook remembered that people are extra prickish on the internet and that a dislike button would probably only encourage more negativity online where there is already more than enough cynicism so they ditched the idea of a dislike button. Now Facebook is testing out a “downvote” button, which has a different objective than a dislike button.
Facebook is stealing the idea of the downvote from Reddit and testing it out on their social media platform. Reddit has utilized a downvote system that reduces the visibility of unpopular posts. Certain Facebook users have seen the downvote button available recently and it allows them to flag posts or comments that they don’t like. After the user clicks the downvote button, Facebook asks the person to classify the post or comment as “offensive”, “misleading” or “off-topic.” Then the selected post or comment is hidden for the offended user. Christina Hudler of Hudler Social posted screenshots of the downvote feature on Twitter.
Downvotes will not be able to be seen by anyone except for the person who clicked the downvote button. A downvote does not affect the visibility of the post for other people and does not affect its ranking in the news feed. The downvote system is currently a way for Facebook to collect feedback. The downvote button only appears on public page posts, and will not be an option on posts by groups, public figures or users. The trial is a short-term test for 5% of Android users in the U.S. with language set to English.
“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,” Facebook said in a statement. I’m sure everyone will use the downvote option responsibly and only flag the appropriate posts and comments and everyone totally won’t abuse the downvote button so much that it loses its value.