Facebook is (finally?) testing out a “downvote” button

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But it is not a dislike button. That Facebook wants to make clear. They’ve been avoiding a “dislike” button for years in an effort to stay away from negative reinforcement.

This is something different, apparently.

5% of Android users will get to trial this new “downvote” option on public pages. Facebook will see how it goes, and, if the world (wide web) doesn’t implode more than it already has, Facebook will probably begin a wider rollout.

The details:

The button will be available only for comments made on public pages: When a user (that’s us!) chooses how they want to react to a comment, they’ll get the usual “like,” and “reply,” and emojis/gifs/etc. option as well as the new option to “downvote.”

The down-voted comment will then disappear (from the user’s visibility, anyway), and give them the option to report as “offensive,” “misleading” or “off-topic.”

Simple.

But, again, this is meant to be positive

Talk of a “dislike” button to go hand-in-hand with the one for “like” has been floating around for years. Facebook has never gone for it, but Reddit and Imgur and other social media platforms have long had something similar, as well as media sites like YouTube.

But the idea behind the downvote isn’t one of ranking (like on Reddit, say, where least-popular comments get pushed to the bottom). Although it will, on some level, end up doing something similar: The feature is designed solely to moderate and remove the negative side so that all users are left with is the nice, happy, positive things that they really want to see.

It’s a way, basically, to regulate the vitriol, bullying/name-calling, fake news, etc. so many of Facebook’s conversations and comments sections have become famous for.

(Read more about on that specifically: Facebook is testing a downvote button, but only for comment moderation)

And part of the social media behemoth’s continued push to put content, and the control of content, back in the hands of users while removing itself from the role of publisher, i.e. if we’re regulating what we see on our NewsFeed, then Facebook won’t have to.

What they’ll do with negative comments after they’ve been “downvoted,” however, remains to be seen.