Facebook is testing a new ‘downvote’ button which it said will allow users to report abusive or offensive comments immediately. The said feature found on all comments made on a public page post has however been rolled out in a limited scale, with only a few users getting to use the new feature.
The social media company hasn’t stated when, if at all, the new feature will be made standard across its platform. The company also clarified the new feature might share its name with a similar feature on Reddit though the similarities end there.
For unlike on Reddit where the downvote button pushes an answer down the charts and will therefore have less of a chance of being viewed, the same on Facebook will let users deal effectively with untoward comments. Clicking on it will provide four options to explain exactly how the user would describe their displeasure with the comment. Those include offensive, misleading, off topic and other.
Facebook also stated the downvote button should not be seen as a dislike button as well, something that many have been clamouring for on the social site. Instead, the new feature should help address another of the biggest grouse users have reported with the site, that of dealing with abusive comments.
With the new downvote feature, not only is the comment removed from public view immediately, Facebook too get to know of it right away. This presumably should help it deal with such abusive behaviour on its site more efficiently, something that the company has often been pulled up for in the past.
Facebook might have popularised the humble like button since it started out several years back but has now grown to become the largest social networking site in the world. While that is great, the sheer presence of large sections of society has also termed the platform as the new battleground for conflicting groups to vent their ire on the other.
This also explains the presence of abusive comments to a large extent. Under the circumstances, while the downvote button can be seen as a move in the right direction, let’s hope it itself does not turn out to be a new weapon to victimise opposing groups by acting to hide any comment that goes against the user’s views.