Facebook is a minefield of passive – and not so passive – aggression.
Either keyboard warriors clog up the comments section, shouting profanities at each other in full caps lock mode, or the not-so confident social media soapbox stars leave ‘angry’ emoji reactions in their thousands.
Or that’s how it feels sometimes.
Yet Facebook have come up with a solution to create more ‘meaningful’ interaction between its millions and millions of users.
Joy of joys, it’s another emoji – because a picture is worth a thousand words at the expense of all considered debate, don’t you know?
Only this time, the little emoji actually takes form in a ‘downvote’ button:
— Madalyn Sklar ? #SMMW18 Speaker (@MadalynSklar) February 9, 2018
The idea behind the downvote – which looks suspiciously like the tool used on Reddit to push bad memes to the bottom of the pile – is not to give social media users another outlet to disparage and berate their fellow man.
It’s actually going to be used – if the trial goes well – to help the platform flag inappropriate, ‘uncivil’ or misleading comments.
A Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch:
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.
The downvote button hides a comment and gives users the chance to explain why they downvoted, including marking the comment as ‘Offensive’, ‘Misleading’ and ‘Off Topic’.
It’s hoped those systems of feedback could help Facebook figure out if the comment is objectionable, a form of ‘fake news’, or just irrelevant, writes TechCrunch.
According to Facebook, this is a short-term test designed to give feedback to Facebook – not the commenter – and there’ll be no publicly visible count of how many downvotes a comment gets.
They also confirmed the temporary test won’t affect the ranking of any comments, posts, or Pages.
Anyway, the test is only running for 5 per cent of Android users in the US with language set to English. The downvote button only appears on public Page posts, not on posts by Groups, public figures or users.
Facebook already has a ‘Hide’ button for comments, but it’s usually hidden behind the drop-down arrow on comments rather than immediately clickable.
A dislike button has long been the most requested Facebook feature, but Facebook has never given in.
Back in 2015, CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to a Q&A question about it, saying:
We didn’t want to just build a ‘Dislike’ button because we don’t want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts.
That doesn’t seem like the kind of community we want to create.
There’s currently no plan to expand the downvote test, so for those of you who were excited to rein terror with downwards thumbs, you’ll have to stick to the Facebook messenger app.
Still, I’d find a Facebook happy place and drown in a sea of ‘love’ emojis, if I were you. All the angry faces can’t be good for us.
I highly recommend Dogspotting Society for all your social media whimsy.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.