In February, Facebook began trialling downvote (not dislike) button, allowing this feature to a limited number of its huge number of users. As the company has rolled out this downvote button, which is not a dislike button, it is trying to roll out this feature for more people. So far after rolling out this feature for some users in Australia and New Zealand, it appears to be good. According to a Facebook spokesperson, people have told them that they would like to see better public discussions on Facebook, and spaces where people with different opinions can have better and constructive dialogue.
Downvote button in Australia
Considering this, they are running a small test in New Zealand that allows people to upvote or downvote comments on public Page posts. They believe that this feature will help to create such spaces, by ranking the comments that readers believes to be ranked highest. This is in contrast to the comments with great number of reactions. Though this test was only for New Zealand, users in Australia also reported seeing this new feature. The downvote button appears only on certain public pages that were created in Australia, and only on the mobile app of Facebook.
Better public discussions
A Facebook spokesperson said in a February statement that they are not testing a dislike button. They are trying to explore a feature to get feedback about comments on public page posts from users. The button is being tested to see whether it enables to have better public discussions. Reddit which is a discussion site has a successful “downvote” option that reduces visibility of unpopular posts. In 2015 Q&A session, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that not every moment is a good moment. So, they presented reactions with expanded options to laughing, sad, angry, and wow face and a heart. Mark Zuckerberg believes that it is complicated to make an interaction which is that simple. Jack Kent, analyst at IHS Markit said that the “downvote” feature should be viewed in light of firm’s effort to change the way people consume news on Facebook.
Considering the current debate about Facebook’s role in public news, Facebook is trying to test different ways for users to interact with content in a public setting. However, Kent believes that the company must maintain a balance between allowing positive and negative feedback.