Facebook confirms test of a downvote button for flagging comments


How can Facebook advertise significant interplay between customers? Via permitting them to downvote irrelevant comments to cover them. Facebook is now checking out a downvote button on a restricted set of public Web page publish remark reels, the corporate confirms to TechCrunch. However what Facebook does with alerts about problematic comments may elevate new questions on censorship, and its roll as a information editor and media corporate.

A Facebook spokesperson tells TechCrunch “We are not testing a dislike button. 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 U.S. only.”

Right here’s a take a look at the button on a remark reel up shut:

Facebook tells me that the inducement in the back of the downvote button is to create a light-weight method for other people to offer a sign to Facebook that a remark is irrelevant, uncivil, or deceptive.

When tapped, the downvote button hides a remark, and provides customers further reporting choices like “Offensive”, “Misleading”, and “Off Topic”. The ones may lend a hand Facebook work out if the remark is objectionable, a shape of “fake news”, or simply irrelevent. Facebook already has a “Hide” button for comments, however it’s typically hidden in the back of the drop-down arrow on comments slightly than straight away clickable.

Right here you’ll see the downvote button on a remark thread, plus what occurs whilst you click on it. The screenshots come from Christina Hudler.

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In line with Facebook, that is a momentary test that doesn’t impact the rating of the remark, publish, or Web page. It’s designed as a option to give comments to Facebook, no longer the commenter, and there will probably be no publicly visual depend of what number of downvotes a remark will get. The test is working for five% of Android customers within the U.S. with language set to English. The downvote button best seems on public Web page posts, no longer on posts by way of Teams, public figures or customers. There’s recently no plan to enlarge the test as is.

Now not A Dislike Button

A dislike button has lengthy been essentially the most asked Facebook function, however Facebook hasn’t ever given in.

Again in 2015, CEO Mark Zuckerberg answered to a Q&A query about it, announcing:

“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. That doesn’t seem like the kind of community we want to create.”

As an alternative, Facebook constructed the Reactions choices that permit you to reply to posts and comments with love, wow, haha, unhappy or indignant emoji. Facebook additionally constructed reactions into Messenger with the way to give messages a thumbs-up or thumbs-down so it’s worthwhile to display settlement or confrontation.

However the brand new downvote button is the nearest Facebook has come to in fact giving other people a dislike button. Downvoting used to be popularized on Reddit for crowdsourcedcomment rating. Reddit co-founder Alexi Ohanian weighed in on Facebook’s model by the use of Twitter:

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The downvote button ties in with Facebook’s fresh push to support its customers’ well-being by way of prioritizing Information Feed content material that drives significant interactions as an alternative of passive, zombie surfing. That led Facebook to turn fewer viral movies, which in flip contributed to a 700,000 person lower in U.S. and Canada day-to-day energetic customers — its first decline ever anyplace — and Facebook’s slowest DAU expansion fee it’s ever reported.

However a technique Facebook may generate extra significant interplay with out shedding time on web page might be by way of making sure essentially the most attention-grabbing comments are on the most sensible of posts. Facebook already ranks comments by way of relevancy in line with Likes and replies. However the downvote button may make sure that if objectionable comments get up and stall dialogue, Facebook will know.

That would ultimately result in a method for Facebook to bury those comments, or the folks that publish them. Then again, this may occasionally best open up extra questions on censorship and what qualifies as irrelevant at a time when Facebook is already suffering to regulate its tasks as what Zuckerberg calls “not a traditional media company.”