They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, and that’s something that Facebook strongly believes in.
Smart enough to know when it’s beaten, it’s sustained a track record of either buying its competitors (hello Instagram), or copying their best features when they refuse to sell (hello Snapchat). To be fair, it’s a smart business tactic which has worked for them so far, as they continue to dominate the landscape of social media, even after their recent travails.
And they appear to have done it again, this time by nabbing a popular feature from Reddit.
According to TheNextWeb, Facebook has introduced an ability for a number of users to either upvote or downvote comments under posts.
The downvote button is designed for users to flag “inappropriate, uncivil, or misleading” content, as reported by TechCrunch earlier in the year, and is understood to be part of new tests specific to users in Australia and New Zealand.
It follows the ability for Messenger users to say yes or no to suggestions, something which was first tested in 2017.
Based on screenshots shared on Twitter, the buttons appear to only be available on comments, rather than initial posts, and don’t let other users know who has upvoted or downvoted certain material.
It’s a change from the previous system, whereby you could like a comment or… just ignore it, and the platform has explained it’s not the same as a dislike button.
This is despite the downvote function operating in the same way as buttons which other sites use as dislike buttons, rather than ways to pinpoint inappropriate content.
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian did not seem too worried by Facebook’s move, tweeting that he was ‘flattered’.
The new addition seems consistent with efforts made by Facebook to put the onus on users to help it identify ‘fake news’, with a large number of downvotes presumably alerting the social network to the presence of potentially misleading comments. In a way, it looks like an extension of the ‘report’ function whereby users will be able to see that a comment has a multitude of downvotes before it is removed altogether.
Whether it’s successful or not will probably depend on how easily the message gets out.