comscore
News

Facebook testing downvote button to effectively flag inappropriate comments

Facebook emphasizes that downvote button is not a dislike button and is only available on public Page posts.

  • Published: February 9, 2018 9:29 AM IST
facebook-logo-main

Highlights

  • Facebook is expected to show a downvote button in addition to the Like, Comment and Share buttons

  • Limited testing of a downvote button gives Facebook valuable data, despite not showing a count on the page

  • Facebook could use this feature to remove inappropriate comments before they go viral

Facebook is testing a new downvote button with a limited set of public Page post comments. The downvote button could be a major addition to the improved reactions option on the social media platform and could help take down inappropriate or misleading comment or post on the platform.

Facebook has been rumored to add a dislike button to reactions for a long time but a spokesperson for the company told TechCrunch that it is not testing a dislike button. “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 U.S. only.”

With the limited testing, Facebook will now show ‘Downvote’ in addition to ‘Like’ and ‘Reply’ below every comment. When the user clicks downvote button on a comment, Facebook will hide that comment and provide additional options like “Offensive”, “Misleading”, and “Off Topic” to report the comment. The idea behind downvote button clearly seems like an effort to bring interaction and flagging system into a common system.

Facebook already allows its users to hide comments but it is available only from the drop-down arrow while the downvote button is immediately clickable. The social media giant has also confirmed that this is a short-term test and it won’t affect the ranking of the comment, post or Page.

The limited testing of downvote button will give Facebook valuable data, but it won’t show count of downvote received by a particular comment to the public. TechCrunch adds that the test is running for 5 percent of Android users in the US with their language set to English. The downvote button is only available on public Page posts and not on posts by Groups, public figures or users and Facebook has no plan to expand it further.

Facebook has been constantly criticized by US senators on both side of the aisle for not properly handling the content posted on its network. The senators have called out the company for not curbing the spread of fake news on its platforms and allowing pages to spread misinformation in the form of sponsored advertisements.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has acknowledged the improper use of its platform and has announced new steps including changes to News Feed that shows more content from friends and family, display of content from trustworthy publications and renewed focus on local news to stop spread of misinformation.

With the new downvote, Facebook will be able to remove inappropriate comments even before they go viral and people start talking about it. It is not clear whether the option will be as effective as Facebook wants it to be but it will definitely be used by its users since it will also act as a pseudo dislike button.

  • Published Date: February 9, 2018 9:29 AM IST