Facebook is trying out a 'downvote' in comments on public pages

It's being trialed on 5 percent of public pages in the U.S.

What's happening? 

Facebook has started testing a "downvote" button on comments made on public pages.

TechCrunch reports that when choosing to react to a comment, as well as the usual "like," "reply," and emoji-based interactions, users will also be given the option to "downvote."

This will hide that person's comment and give users more reporting options such as "offensive," "misleading" and "off-topic."

It's currently being trialed on 5 percent of public pages visited by Android users.

It sounds like a "dislike" button

It does, but Facebook is stressing that it's not.

There have long been rumors about whether Facebook would introduce a "dislike" button to go with its "like" option. Other social media sites like Reddit have this option, as well as some news outlets like the Mail Online.

But as The Verge reports, the "downvote" option is purely about moderation, and will not turn comments into a ranking system akin to Reddit.

It's actually being used as a way of giving feedback to Facebook about the kind of content people are unhappy with on public page posts.

The BBC reports that Facebook is using the "downvote" button as a form community-based moderation on the social media site, as it fights complaints over the spread of "fake news," bullying and harassment.

With the "downvotes" deployed by users rather than Facebook itself, it can resist being labeled a "publisher" of content, instead continuing to argue itself as a platform.

But as TechCrunch notes, what Facebook chooses to do with the "downvote" feedback from users could raise "new questions about censorship, and its role as a news editor and media company."

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