Facebook is testing an experimental “downvote” button as the social media giant continues its efforts to clean up its platform and reputation.
According to a new report from TechCrunch, the feature, which is currently being tested on a small number of users in the US, lets users downvote comments on public posts.
A Facebook spokesperson revealed to the publication that the motivation behind the downvote button was to create an easy way for people to signal to Facebook that a moment is inappropriate, rather than to “dislike” someone’s post.
“We are not testing a dislike button. We are exploring a feature for people to give us feedback about comments on public page posts,” the spokesperson said. “This is running for a small set of people in the U.S. only.”
In a series of tweets, tech reporter Taylor Lorenz posted pictures of her Facebook feed showing the option to “downvote” comments, alongside the Like and Reply buttons. Multiple other people have since reported seeing the option in their feeds.
Facebook is testing downvoting comments pic.twitter.com/SBOSQITotO
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) February 8, 2018
According to Facebook, when the downvote button is hit, a user has the option to report the comment as “offensive,” “misleading” or “off topic.” The comment is then hidden from the user. A Facebook spokesperson said that the reason behind the new feature is to let people signal to the moderators that a comment is inappropriate, uncivil, or misleading.
A downvote or dislike button has long been a rumoured next step for Facebook, but until now the social media platform has mostly stuck with the positive-only thumbs-up button.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has pledged this year to reorient the way his company prioritizes posts and organizes information, with an emphasis on “meaningful posts” shared by friends and family and a reduction in posts from brand pages and media organizations.