Despite an experiment in mid-2018 that had questionable results, it looks like Facebook is still testing an upvote/downvote feature for comments. Heavy spotted an iteration of the feature on the Hallmark Channel’s Facebook page today. It’s appears that the upvote/downvote was only viewable to certain users and not to everyone who visited the page, since no one else was using the feature. The version Heavy saw showed just one other person using the upvote/downvote button, despite being present on every comment on the page. Here’s what we know so far about the current status of the downvote on Facebook. After you read this article, take our poll and let us know if you’ve seen this feature.
The appearance of the downvote option for comments is very simple. Here’s what it looks like on one of the posts on Hallmark Channel’s Facebook page:
And a closer look:
This was a subtle rollout without any fanfare or explanation about how the upvote and downvote feature is supposed to be used. When you click the up arrow, you simply see “upvote” on the screen briefly.
And the same subtle message occurs if you hit the down arrow, with a -1 appearing next to the comment:
It’s unclear if it’s available to everyone who visits the page or just a small set of Facebook users. I asked people in the comment thread if they were also seeing this or if it was just me, and one person responded that they were able to see the voting option too.
I could not get the upvote/downvote option to appear on any other page or section of Facebook, including the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries page.
Back in early-to-mid 2018, we heard that Facebook was testing a comment downvote system, but it wasn’t going so well. In February, Facebook tested the feature among a select number of Facebook users, Slate reported. Then in May, they expanded the testing to Australia and New Zealand. The first test involved only upvotes, and the second test involved upvotes and downvotes. In February, Facebook told Mashable: “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.”
The in July 2018, Arstechnica reported that Facebook was rolling out the system wider in the United States, but was limited to public posts. Arstechnica noted that the votes would show the following recommendation: “Support comments that are thoughtful, and demote ones that are uncivil or irrelevant.” At the time, Arstechnica said the feature was only appearing for people who were flagged for the test.
The in November, Digital Trends reported that Facebook was testing a different change to the comment system, and suggesting “auto comments” that people could pick with one click of the button. You could choose one-click phrases like “Hope everyone is OK” or “Heartbreaking.” But users didn’t really like this system, and Facebook removed it.
That’s the last I had heard about changes to the comment feature until tonight, when it showed up on my Facebook today. My test, in Texas, utilizes both the upvote and downvote without any explanation or suggestion on how to use them when first seen on desktop. But when seen on mobile, the following explanation appeared:
I’m not the only one who’s seen this tested feature recently, however. On Reddit, user u/TheUndergiver shared a screenshot of the same upvote/downvote option for comments, except they received an explanation for the feature. The explanation reads: “Support better comments. Support comments that are thoughtful and demote ones that uncivil or irrelevant.” (It’s tough to imagine this not being misused. On Reddit, users are only supposed to downvote comments that don’t contribute to the conversation at all, but users frequently downvote comments they don’t like or disagree with all the time.)
On Twitter, other people have recently noted seeing the feature appear on Facebook.
Have you seen the downvote option for comments on Facebook? Take the poll below and let us know in the comments.