Facebook Is Testing A Downvote Button In New Zealand After Earlier Tests In The U.S., But It’s Subtler Than You Think

Let's be real, you don't like everything that's posted on Facebook. It's no secret. Debate threads on single posts are so long they can sometimes rival the length of Russian novels. It's safe to say that when opinions are expressed things can get ~heated~. But now Facebook is expanding tests of its downvote button, according to the BBC, and it's actually super subtle. (Bustle has reached out to Facebook about the reports of the downvote button, and will update upon response.)

But don't get it twisted — a downvote is not the same thing as a "dislike" button. In fact, you may have already seen it — Facebook confirmed testing to users in the U.S. in February, according to TechCruch. Regarding the recent test expansion to other markets, a Facebook spokesperson issued a statement to Gizmodo Australia: "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."

When it comes to opinions expressed on Facebook sometimes it's better to not engage on the platform. The downvote button can be utilized as a way to back away slowly from the comments you don't like without sprouting another branch of arguments. If you frequent Reddit, the downvote feature won't be too unfamiliar. Under a comment you would see an arrow pointing up and an arrow pointing down. No thumbs down here, as imagined by every single Facebook user.

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A Facebook spokesperson clarified in February, when the feature first started testing in the U.S., "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 U.S. only." A selection of users in the United States were able to test the feature themselves in Feb. 2018. However, now — as of April 2018 — Facebook users in New Zealand and Australia are getting a chance to acquaint themselves with the downvote.

Really, who can stand a brash, mostly uneducated comment that offends many? Sometimes the best route of action is to refrain from sparking an argument that goes nowhere and flag the comment instead. It will save everyone both a headache as well as their precious time. CNBC reports, "the reason behind the new feature is to let people signal to the moderators that a comment is inappropriate, uncivil, or misleading."

When you give that downvote a click you'll be prompted to report if the comment is "offensive", "misleading" or "off topic". Basically you can raise an issue with a comment, erase it from your feed so that you can go on operating your social media life surrounding by ~good vibes only~ and rest assured knowing you took care of nonsense. And all without firing up a debate thanks to its subtle nature.

With these tests, the Facebook community can start speaking up without rattling up much noise. For now, the downvote button will only appear on posts that are a part of public pages and not on the accounts of your friends, according to TechCrunch. So, if you don't agree with something a friend of a friend said you'll have no subtle button to express your disapproval.

But that doesn't mean you won't be able to express your emotions about a post. In 2016, Facebook equipped users with more expressive options in addition to the classic "like" emoji. Instead of only interacting when you "liked" a post, you could now let someone know that you absolutely loved it with a heart. Or that it made you laugh. Or that you were not so happy with the content of the message as expressed with a steaming, angry face.

There are many ways to engage with friends on Facebook. And for the most part we do so boldly, as loud as we can with the access we're given. With the testing of the downvote button, we might be able to communicate ~under the radar~ the things we don't like. Take action while also expressing yourself without the noisy, messy arguments that tend follow.