Facebook is about to test a new feature in New Zealand called the downvote button.
The test is a continuation of a test Facebook began a few weeks ago that allows people to upvote or downvote comments on public threads on Facebook.
Facebook is continuing the original test with a small number of Pages in New Zealand.
It's still an early test and they may not roll this feature out more broadly, but they're looking forward to seeing whether people find this feature useful.
It’s important to note that Facebook is not framing this downvote button as a dislike button.
They still aim to provide a full range of reactions for people to use to convey an emotional response to a comment, but they're testing this feature to see if people find it a productive option to give feedback about how informative or constructive a comment is.
A Facebook spokesperson told us, “People have told us they would like to see better public discussions on Facebook and want spaces where people with different opinions can have a more constructive dialogue.
“To that end, we're running a small test in New Zealand which allows people to upvote or downvote comments on public Page posts.”
“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.”
It will be interesting to see how this affects public discussions on threads, and though I do see the appeal I feel like this might be an easy way for people to silence a voice they don’t agree with.
Though this button could be a positive thing when it comes to minimising the impact of bullies and trolls, I fear that it may also impact constructive conversation and debate.
So, in my opinion, this button may be a slippery slope, however, it remains to be seen if it will be fully integrated into the Facebook platform.