In February, Facebook, Inc. Common Stock (NASDAQ:FB) launched a downvote button and made the feature accessible to a limited number of users. In an earlier statement, the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the move is aimed at allowing users express empathetic feeling on posts where a “like” is not the right response. This could be a saddening situation like a refuge problem, terrorist attack or loss of a loved one.
Everything has gone well since the start of the trial and now the company is rolling out the same feature to its users in New Zealand and Australia.
Facebook is working hard to ensure that users do not interpret the new feature as a “dislike” but rather an expression used to flag ‘bad comments’ which may be interpreted as being “disrespectful of having bad intention”. However, there are high chances that many users will use this feature as a “dislike”.
In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson indicated that people on the platform are devoted to having better, meaningful and constructive public discussions and it is better to offer space for divergent opinions. The spokesperson noted that it is out of this call for constructive engagements that the company has rolled out the downvote and upvote on public Page posts for users in New Zealand.
Facebook says that the new system will help in ranking comments according to their relevance and according to what readers believe should be ranked high.
Although the company had indicated that it was only testing the feature in New Zealand, a number of users in Australia have also reported seeing the feature. The feature is only visible on public pages that were created in Australia. It is only visible on the Facebook mobile app.
The idea of the downvote is not new to online social platforms. It is used on Reddit, a new aggregation website,which allows users to vote on stories hence gauging their popularity and appropriateness as well as comment using the upvote and downvote buttons. Facebook was quick to indicate that it is not testing a dislike button but rather a tool that will allow people to give feedback about comments made on public page posts.