Technology

Facebook Testing Downvote Button To Help Flag Bad Comments

Facebook Downvote button
OpenClipart-Vectors / Pixabay

Facebook downvote button is being tested by the social networking giant, and the same has been made available to a few users. The button is not used on the posts, rather its objective is to flag offensive comments.

Currently users can express their view through different emojis. However, these are a less effective medium when it comes to replying to a nasty comment.  According to the social networking website, the Facebook downvote button should curb the comments that might hurt the feelings of someone or disrespect someone. As of now, only a group of users are able to test the new button.

Confirming the new button, the social networking giant said that users have been demanding more constructive discussions on the platform, so that people having different opinions can express their thoughts. And, thus it is carrying out tests in New Zealand to allow users to rank the comments. Though the company says that it is carrying out tests in New Zealand, a few Australian users have also reported seeing the new feature.

“Our hope is that this feature will make it easier for us to create such spaces, by ranking the comments that readers believe deserve to rank highest, rather than the comments that get the strongest emotional reaction,” a company spokesperson said, according to CNET.

Talking of the Facebook downvote button, Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, said that he is “flattered.” Reddit already offers the option of the up or down vote, giving the users the right to select a post which they like or one that does not have a very nice ring to it. Both Reddit and Facebook, however, serve different purposes.

Reddit is primarily concerned with the news and stories or topics of interest. On the other hand, Facebook is more about building a connection with friends and the community, suggesting that downvoting would altogether create a different impact on the platform. Last time, when rumors of a Facebook downvote button emerged, the company said that they were not testing any such thing.

Currently, users have a set of emojis to help them express their thoughts on the platform. In 2015, when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked about the set of emojis which were due to be released in 2016, he stated that not “every moment is a good moment,” and thus, there was a need for such emojis. Now, the company has gone one step further to give users a more expressive tool when flagging bad comments.

Facebook, for a long time, has been grappling with the problem of fake news, and the Facebook downvote button would surely help the company tackle that. The new button would help make the platform fairer by giving users the needed tools to express their thoughts. In another effort to take on fake news, Facebook plans to shrink the visibility of the fake news and similar content on its platform.

According to TechCrunch, the real news would get ten times more visibility compared to the fake news. For the same purpose, the company is also using machine learning to scan newly published articles for their authenticity. Machine learning, clubbed with other signals such as user reports, would help in the prioritization of articles in the fact checking queue.

In another step to make the platform more interactive, the social networking giant is planning to come up with an interactive docu-series. Facebook’s docu-series starring Tamera Mowry-Housley will be produced by Thumb Candy Media. The show would premiere over two nights starting Thursday May 3 on Facebook Watch.

During the first-quarter earnings call, Zuckerberg insisted on creating content that syncs with the users in a different way than what is already offered by other platforms like YouTube. On being asked about the investment in video and the future, Zuckerberg stated that the platform is more focused on bringing people closer together in different ways.

Along with making the platform better, such efforts from Facebook will help it to upright its reputation after the recent jolts. The social networking giant has been accused of handling contents loosely that could have impacted the U.S. Presidential Elections. Recently, the company has also been involved in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where it has been found sharing user data with third-party researchers.

In pre-market trading today, Facebook shares were in the green. Year to date, the stock is down about 2%.