Facebook isn’t testing a dislike button, but something far more useful

Facebook has confirmed it is testing a downvote button, which could be used to stem the tide of offensive and abusive comments, as well as the company’s ‘fake news’ problem.

In tests on a small number of Android app users, the Downvote option sits next to the Like and Reply options beneath a post.

The idea is that users can register their displeasure with a post, without actually having to flag it to Facebook. Effectively, it’s the angry face emoji that actually has some consequences for the offending poster.

Once clicking the Downvote button, users will no longer see the comment in question, but they can also signal to Facebook whether it is offensive, misleading or off-topic.

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This suggests it’ll be used as a way for Facebook to combat the ‘fake news’ problem it has acknowledged its role in perpetrating.

In a statement to TechCrunch, a Facebook spokesperson said: “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.”

At this time Facebook says it isn’t using the downvote button to affect how comments are ranked, a la Reddit. For now Top Comments will still be those garnering the most reactions.

It’s not dislike, it’s better

While it’s not exactly the ‘dislike’ button users have been requesting since the social network’s inception, it may prove more useful.

Back in 2015 Mark Zuckerberg 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.”

Of course, the firm’s Reactions have given users opportunities to express love, sadness, anger and shock, but a straight up thumbs down? No such luck.

Are you still awaiting a dislike button from Facebook? Or do you think the current reactions do the job sufficiently? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.