Facebook has confirmed rumours that it is testing a button to ‘downvote’ a post. Users will be able to not only hide certain comments by downvoting, but also report the posts to Facebook.
However, it seems the new feature will not be a dislike button, but instead serve to help Facebook detect offensive or fake content. The company has faced intense public criticism over its potential to drive hate speech and fake news content. This has also become a serious concern for brands and advertisers.
Currently, only a small number of users in the US are able to test the feature.
Facebook confirmed to Techcrunch, that it was indeed testing tools to receive feedback about public pages from the user community.
Although tools already exist to flag up content that is inappropriate, offensive or misleading, the downvote button may refresh the issue for many users. In addition, it may help Facebook aggregate data on posts.
Using the downvote button, Facebook users can hide a comment and then choose to report it as “offensive”, “misleading” and “off topic”. Although the button won’t affect the actual post, it may do so in the future.
Facebook remained firm in not adding a dislike button. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, previously said:
“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.”
Instead, popular posts are simply pushed to the top of the News Feed when more people like it or comment.