Facebook has begun testing a “downvote” button with some users, available only in a limited number of post types, the Daily Beast reports.
Facebook is testing downvoting comments pic.twitter.com/SBOSQITotO
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) February 8, 2018
The deployment of downvotes, even on a limited scale, comes after years of rumours of a “dislike” button, which the company itself has helped fuel through mixed messages. Reddit, the website best known for its use of both positive and negative signalling, has shown mixed results from studies where downvotes were hidden from other users, and a number of communities opt to turn the feature off to prevent mass-downvoting (called brigading) of controversial content.
In a statement to Gizmodo, Facebook described the test as brief and distanced itself from the notion that the new “downvote” action was in any way a dislike button. “[W]e are not testing a dislike button. We are exploring a feature for people to give us feedback about comments on public page posts,” a spokesperson wrote, “This is running for a small set of people in the US only.”
Facebook further clarified that public page posts where the test is current running for an estimated 5-per cent of Android users only, do not affect ranking and the number of downvotes are not displayed in any way.