Facebook tests new “downvote” feature for reporting comments

The Facebook application is seen on a phone screen, August 3, 2017. (REUTERS/Thomas White)

Facebook is working on a new feature that will let users report inappropriate and abusive comments by clicking a downvote button.

On Thursday, a number of Facebook users began seeing the new downvote button on the social media platform. The new feature can be found on any comment made on public page posts. However, only a handful of users have access to it as of now.

According to users who have observed the addition of the new button, clicking on the downvote button will hide the comment from the user. It then asks whether the comment was offensive, misleading, or off-topic.

Despite the name, Facebook’s downvote feature does not work the same way as Reddit’s downvote. In Reddit, downvoting a comment will demote it further down the comment section, while upvoting one will put it higher up on the page.

Facebook has clarified that the feature that it is testing is not a dislike button. Rather, it is a more convenient way for users to report unruly behavior in comments sections of public pages.

“We are not testing a dislike button,” the social media giant clarified. “We are exploring a feature for people to give us feedback about comments on public page posts.”

Over the years, people have debated about the possible introduction of the dislike button to the social media platform. Instead of going with the dislike button, Facebook instead introduced reactions, wherein users can react to the comment or post by selecting from a range of emotions, instead of just the like button.

Currently, users are able to report abusive comments by clicking on the “…” next to the comment and selecting to hide the comment. For the mobile app, users can tap and hold on the comment, then select report on the menu that appears. Performing this will alert the owner of the page about the reported comment.