Facebook started testing a downvote button earlier this year. Over the weekend, the tech giant reportedly rolled out the new feature to its audience in Australia and New Zealand. The company insists that the new button is not a “dislike button.”
A Facebook representative explained that a downvote button is necessary for public discussions so that people with a different opinion can have a voice. The downvote button is a copycat of Reddit’s downvote button.
Facebook also said that it started a “small test” of the new feature in New Zealand, where Facebook users can now downvote the comments on certain public posts. This way, the site can rank comments based on user input rather than users’ emotional reaction to them.
When a user downvotes a comment that comment is hidden. Users will also be able to report objectionable comments as “misleading,” “offensive,” or “off topic.” Facebook likely seeks to filter out “fake news” with users’ help.
Australians Have Reported Seeing the Downvote Button
The company announced that the trial was running only in New Zealand, but some Australian Facebook users said they have used the button. Those users said that the button is available only on the Facebook app for specific public pages in Australia.
The button is not a dislike button, Facebook insisted in February when the feature was first unveiled.
We are exploring a feature for people to give us feedback about comments on public page posts,
the company said at the time.
In a 2015 Q&A session, Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg noted that it is complicated to keep user interactions simple. Zuckerberg made the comments before the company rolled out a set of emojis to give an alternative to the Like button. The emojis, which were released the next year, included an angry face, a sad face, a laughing face, and a heart symbol.
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