You could always ‘Like’ posts on Facebook, but the company never allowed you to dislike, or ‘Downvote’ comments you didn’t like. That is very likely to change in the coming days, with the social networking giant confirming to The Verge that it is, indeed, testing the feature.
According to the Facebook spokesperson quoted by the publication, “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”.
A quick video of what the #FacebookDownvote button looks like for me. Coming up next, a video of putting it into action thanks to a willing volunteer. #smm #socialmedia #socialmediamarketing pic.twitter.com/LlJG8fVwdA
— Christina Hudler (@officialhudler) February 8, 2018
Apparently, the Downvote button will only be available for comment moderation, and will not reflect on the total number of ‘Likes’ a post received. As the Facebook spokesperson told The Verge, “We are not testing a dislike button”. That being the case, if you do happen to downvote a comment, it will be hidden from your feed, and you’ll be asked to give reasons for your downvote, whereby you’ll need to choose whether the comment was “offensive”, “misleading”, “off topic”.
It will be interesting to see how the whole thing plays out going forward, but one would hope that this will be the first step in stopping at least some of the cyber-bullying, bigotry, propaganda, fake news and even the good old-fashioned trolling that has become de rigueur on social media platforms over the years.
The company has already been taking steps to weed out fake news from its platform after taking a lot of flak for its inability to stop the Russian propaganda during the US presidential elections in 2016, so it’s nice to see that users will finally be able to flag comments they find disturbing.