Facebook “downvote”, the site’s equivalent of a Dislike button, is now available to more users
A Facebook downvote button, similar to that seen on Reddit and akin to a Facebook Dislike button, is now seemingly available to more users after it appeared on the site in Australia and New Zealand.
The downvote option first started rolling out in February in what appeared to be a small-scale trial in the US. The button lets users “downvote” a person’s comment or post to show they dislike it. Reddit uses a system of upvotes and downvotes to push great content to the top of the page, and force poor content to the bottom.
Facebook is yet to comment on the trial, but tweets posted over the weekend show what the downvoting on Facebook looks like.
Users have wanted a dislike option on Facebook since the Like button arrived and now, although it uses a slightly less-negative word, it seems to have arrived. The enabled posts only seem to be in Facebook groups and old Facebook memories content, suggesting it could be a way to moderate group content.
Facebook claimed, at the time of the initial trial, that the test isn’t the fabled Dislike button but something completely different. “We are not testing a Dislike button,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “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.”
Despite Facebook’s claims, this downvoting feedback tool seems to work in the same manner you’d expect a Dislike button to function. Clicking Downvote offers feedback that could potentially see offensive or unpopular content pushed towards the end of a comment feed. You can think of it in a similar way to how Reddit has “Upvotes” and “Downvotes” on content so users can self-moderate posts and propel popular content to the top.
Those parallels haven’t been lost on Reddit founder and acting CEO Alexis Ohanian who took to Twitter to show how flattered he was by Facebook’s move.
It’s unknown just how wide-reaching the test is, and there’s no given timeline on when it may roll out to the UK. Facebook still has a lot to sort before it can go live, though. One reason the social platform had shied away from including a Dislike button was that executives felt “it would sow too much negativity” throughout the platform. Given the social network’s growing problems in recent years, it may have decided that such a step would be worth a try after all.
However, as the inventor of the Facebook Like explained to us last year, “there’s always going to be unintended consequences” of adding in any sort of feature, be it a Like, Dislike or even Facebook’s current range of reactions.