Facebook is testing a Reddit-style downvote button for comments on public Page posts, a brand-new mechanism and a major change in how Facebook grades content. Traditionally, the only metric that really mattered for Facebook was engagement: Regardless of whether a comments section was digging into in intricacies of economic policy or just a long string of people shouting FIRST!, Facebook has long used the volume and speed of likes, shares, and comments as the main way to determine what content is “good.”
But in a recent series of changes, Facebook has moved to promote “meaningful social interactions” rather than inflammatory content or algorithm-gaming posts. The downvote test, which is currently limited to a handful of US users, looks to be a part of that.
Currently, the downvote button is only being displayed on comments on Public Page posts to a select group of viewers. According to Facebook, the test is limited to five percent of the company’s English-speaking Android users in the US, a typical audience test for a new Facebook feature.
“We are not testing a dislike button. We are exploring a feature for people to give us feedback about comments on public page posts. This is running for a small set of people in the US only,” Facebook told MarketingLand in a statement. Public Pages have been a major focus of Facebook’s shift to promote “meaningful social interaction.” According to MarketingLand, the downvote data is just one of a number of new factors Facebook is considering to determine if a page is driving meaningful discourse or not. Other measures may include the the length of comments replying to a post, as well as Facebook’s “trusted news” surveys.