Back in May, reports surfaced saying Facebook was testing a downvote button in the style of Reddit, where comments with the most votes get bumped to the top, while those with negative points get buried underneath the pile.
Well, it seems early testing has yielded successful results, as Facebook is now apparently rolling the feature out to more users in the United States. It's been appearing on the mobile app to more accounts recently, without prior warning whatsoever.
How The Upvote/Downvote System On Facebook Works
In an article, Ars Technica detailed how it works. The feature is limited to public posts for now. Participants in the test will see every comment thread now embedded with a numeric value for each comment and small up and down comments indicating upvotes and downvotes, respectively.
"Support comments that are thoughtful, and demote ones that are uncivil or irrelevant" is the prompt that appears to inform the user about the feature.
Upvotes and downvotes aren't replacing Facebook's existing emotion reactions but will be added on top of them. That means users can react with emojis and upvote or downvote at the same time. Liking a comment is also separate from the upvote/downvote system, which means users can hit like on a comment and still downvote it. The like will still count.
As of writing, Ars Technica notes that the feature simply won't appear unless Facebook has specifically flagged an account as part of its testing. It has not gone live on any versions of the Facebook app for Android as well.
Aside from the United States, other countries such as Australia and New Zealand have seen wider tests since this past April, while only a select number of U.S. accounts got to try it out as early as February. There seems to be some variation when it comes to prompts too. In other countries, for example, certain prompts appear when doing actions, such as, "stop bad comments" when tapping the downvote button or "Press the down arrow if a comment has bad intentions or is disrespectful. It's still okay to disagree in a respectful way." These messages don't seem to be appearing in the U.S. tests, and it's unclear exactly why.
Better Than Dislike Button?
The upvote/downvote system is a logical compromise to a full-fledged "dislike" button, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in 2015 would come to the platform eventually, but that turned out to be the emotion reactions that launched later that year. A dislike button probably would encourage more hatred, though — as if there's not enough of that on Facebook already.
There's no clear indication of or when the feature will roll out to all.