Facebook has stated it is currently testing a feature allowing users to have a down-vote option on comments. Facebook claimed the down-vote button is currently being offered to a specific forum in a limited number of public page post comments and would be illustrated by a small set of people within the United States. The forum consists of 5 percent of Android users with English set as the default language and it will not appear in Groups posts or the pages of public figures.
The company has also revealed a number of measures geared to the improvement of the Facebook community. According to a spokesperson at the firm, they are exploring a feature for individuals to give feedback concerning comments on public page posts.
Down-vote Button Shows Reactions
Apparently, the reason for the down-vote button is so that it is easier for the users to give a signal that a comment is not appropriate or is misleading. Facebook also clearly reiterated this would not be a down-vote button per se. this would just be a measure for the collection of responses and feedback for the comments on public domain pages. Upon tapping on the down-vote button, users are asked whether the comment is misleading or is not relevant to the stated topic. The down-vote test is currently short term and it is not going to affect the ranking of the comment, the post itself or even the page. The attribute would not publicly show the number of down-votes that the post got as it is a way for the site to internally collect data.
This is not the only tool by Facebook which does the purpose of negative feedback so to speak. It already offers a ‘Hide’ button in the comments for every user but this would not be as intuitive as the down-vote button.
Mark Zuckerberg previously claimed the company does not intend on systems of voting up or down so this is a rather contradictory aspect albeit there are emoji reactions like anger, happiness, sadness or surprise. The test also follows the likes of Quora and Reddit which utilize ‘down-voting’ as a means to make sure the best comments rise to the top. The management claims there are no plans to expand on this test, though there are other reasons to change the current situation.
Need for Change in Direction
According to Mark Garner who is a technical analyst working for CCS Insight, the down-vote button appeared to be part of Facebook’s resistance, as concerns labeling itself a publisher. It would seem that Mark Zuckerberg does not want the site to be responsible for finding out what is misleading or offensive and what is not as that would place the CEO in the position of being a publisher rather than a platform. That would take the business in a direction which was not the original intention.
It seems to be a question as to whether that would be the right answer or not but where it fits. On Friday, Facebook announced it would double the number of engineers employed in London in order to develop solutions to issues it is currently facing.