The feature appears to give users the ability to downrank comments and could potentially lead to offensive or inflammatory content being pushed to the bottom of the feed, an interesting possibility given the social media giant has rejected requests for a dislike button in the past “on the grounds that it would sow too much negativity.” Perhaps they were on to something, however, as the downvoting system could also be utilized by users to abuse or bully each other. Either way, the option is sure to have a large effect on the discussions that take place on Facebook, and it’s something users have been asking for for years.
While it’s unclear how widely the dislike button is being tested, word of its existence didn’t take long to spread, and those familiar with similar systems of ranking on other platforms took note. Reddit, for example, has been implementing an upvote/downvote system since its inception.
“Sincerest form of flattery! Wish I’d trademarked it and ‘upvote’ when [I] came up with it,” Reddit co-founder and CEO Alexis Ohanian tweeted on Thursday.
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Facebook’s move comes just under two years after it extended the “like” button to include a variety of “reactions” to better reflect a user’s feelings on certain content.
“We’ve been listening to people and know that there should be more ways to easily and quickly express how something you see in News Feed makes you feel,” the company said at the time. “That’s why today we are launching Reactions, an extension of the Like button, to give you more ways to share your reaction to a post in a quick and easy way.”