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Facebook's Upvote, Downvote feature may never reach us, here's why

Facebook responded to our query about the new feature saying that the company is trying to devise a method to better the quality of interactions online.

Danny D'Cruze | May 1, 2018 | Updated 15:25 IST
Facebook introduces new 'Upvote', 'Downvote' feature; expected to roll out in phases

Facebook has introduced new 'Downvote', 'Upvote' buttons on its platform for few users in New Zealand. Technically, the downvote button cannot be seen as a dislike button, at least that's what Facebook wants. This new button will be used to flag distasteful comments on Facebook public posts and bring useful or constructive comments to the fore.

Facebook responded to our query about the new feature saying that the company is trying to devise a method to better the quality of interactions online. A Facebook spokesperson said, "People have told us they would like to see better public discussions on Facebook, and want spaces where people with different opinions can have more constructive dialogue.  To that end, we're running a small test in New Zealand which allows people to upvote or downvote comments on public Page posts. Our hope is that this feature will make it easier for us to create such spaces, by ranking the comments that readers believe deserve to rank highest, rather than the comments that get the strongest emotional reaction."

The 'Like' and 'Reply' buttons are still intact on the posts but there are two skinny arrows to the left of those options that can be used to downvote or upvote a comment. Earlier, Facebook ranked its top comments with the help of likes and interactions on a comment. It seems certain posts needed more than just that. By introducing this new feature, Facebook is passing the baton of flagging bad comments to the user.


Another social media platform, Reddit has a similar 'dislike' feature on its public posts. However, Facebook has a different purpose set in mind with this 'downvote' feature. While the company has clearly mentioned that it's there just to increase the productivity quotient, most people are going to treat it as a 'dislike' button. For instance, even if someone constructively criticises a particular post, the reader can downvote the comment if it doesn't align with their beliefs.

Facebook has provided a wide array of emotional responses for all public posts which have been used widely since its launch. The upvote, downvote feature is more like a quality check on comments. If subscribers use this new service to vent emotional responses, it's highly unlikely that Facebook will include it in the global versions.

Facebook is still dealing with bad press it received earlier this month. It seems the social media giant is eager to make changes to fix issues that popped up during the Q&A round faced by the company's chief, Mark Zuckerberg.

Recently, the company had to face the US Senate and its harsh questions on the company's role in the Cambridge Analytica Scandal that had apparently affected 87 million Facebook users. Since then, the company has tried to make amends in its privacy policy.

Despite the complications, advertisers seem to have continued using Facebook as an effective platform. The company registered a growth of 49 per cent in revenue during the first three months of this year. They also recorded a profit of 63 per cent which translates to $5 billion in the same period. Majority of Facebook's revenue is generated by advertisements.

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