Facebook has confirmed the news that it is testing a downvote button. However, it rebuffed the rumors that there is any development towards the “dislike” button, one of the much sought after features.
The test of the Facebook downvote button is ongoing on the public pages. According to social networking giant, the Facebook downvote button allows users to flag offensive, misleading and inappropriate content. Other social platforms like Reddit already have a downvote option that lowers the popularity of posts that are not important.
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“We are exploring a feature for people to give us feedback about comments on public page posts,” the social networking giant said in a blog post, according to USA Today. The button is being tested by a small number of U.S. users only.
Once a user taps the Facebook downvote button, a new pop-up replaces the comment asking users to select if the comment was, “misleading,” “offensive” or off topic. The social media giant maintains that the Facebook downvote button would help in moderation of the comments, and thus, would help Facebook to get closer to the realization of its goal. Ranking of the comment is not affected if it has been downvoted.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is determined to change the platform by prioritizing posts and organizing the information to make Facebook more “meaningful” to family and friends. So, as users get to downvote certain comments, it would give Facebook a clearer picture of what users want to see and the topics they are interested in.
Thus, the Facebook downvote button would help the company to display better and “meaningful” interactions, along with complementing the surveys that the company is using currently to understand the public perception of news sources. Martin Garner at CCS Insight notes that the new button could be a part of Facebook’s effort to shrug its image of a publisher, according to BBC.
About the dislike button, Zuckerberg already clarified in 2015 that Facebook is not looking to bring it in as an option as it does not want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on other people’s post.
“That doesn’t seem like the kind of community we want to create,” Zuckerberg said back then.
Instead, the Menlo Park, California-based company offers the reaction options allowing users to respond to the posts with different emotions such as love, wow, haha, angry or sad emoji. Facebook also launched reactions into Messenger where users can choose thumbs up or down to show if they agree with the message or not.
Separately, Facebook posted good fourth-quarter numbers, beating analysts’ expectations for revenue. The robust numbers were despite the furor against the company for having a negative impact on society and no filtering of the posts. During the earnings call, Zuckerberg stated that fiscal 2017 was a strong one for Facebook, but it was also a “hard” one.
Further, the CEO said that in 2018 the social networking site is focused on the well-being of the society rather than just the numbers.
“We’re doing this by encouraging meaningful connections between people rather than passive consumption of content,” Zuckerberg said.
Zuckerberg noted that the recent steps to make the platform meaningful such as reducing the inflow of viral videos has brought down the time spent on the platform by an average two minutes per person every day. But “by focusing on meaningful interactions, I believe that the time spent on Facebook will be more valuable,” he said.