Facebook is finally testing a ‘downvote’ button

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the Facebook logo on an iPhone 6 Plus
Facebook’s new patent is as worrying as it sounds.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

You may finally get a way to disapprove of inappropriate content on Facebook. The social network is testing a new “downvote” button that lets users flag public comments that are offensive, misleading, or off-topic. Just don’t call it a dislike button.

For years, Facebook only gave us the option to like and reply to comments. Now we can “react” to them with cute faces that express some emotion. It’s not obvious how you hide or report a public comment you feel is inappropriate.

Facebook gets a downvote button

That’s changing for a small number of Facebook users in the United States. They now have a downvote button, which lets them hide public comments and then report them as offensive, misleading, or off-topic in just a few quick taps.

It’s a “lightweight way for people to provide a signal to Facebook that a comment is inappropriate, uncivil, or misleading,” explains TechCrunchIt “could help Facebook figure out if the comment is objectionable, a form of “fake news”, or just irrelevant.”

Here’s what the downvoting looks like:

Facebook downvote
Facebook’s new downvote button in action.
Photo: Christina Hudler

It’s not a dislike button

Downvoting is the easiest and best way to express you’re dissatisfaction with a post, but it’s not a dislike button. Despite being one of the most requested features among Facebook users, a dislike button doesn’t seem like a good idea to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

“We didn’t want to just build a Dislike button because we don’t want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts,” Zuckerberg said in 2015. “That doesn’t seem like the kind of community we want to create.”

For now, this is a short-term test that won’t affect the ranking of a comment, post, or page, Facebook says. And when you downvote and report a comment, the user who left it has no way of knowing. There won’t be a public count of downvotes like there is on Reddit, either.

The test is currently running for around 5 percent of Facebook users on Android. There’s no plan to expand its rollout just yet.