Facebook still doesn’t have a “Dislike” reaction for posts, but the company is testing a new Downvote button for the comments section.  The new feature was spotted earlier this morning and it’s currently only being tested with a small number of users in the United States.

“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 Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. The company also said that this little experiment is a way to provide users with a small way to alert Facebook if a comment is inappropriate.

When users tap on the Downvote button, the comment will automatically be hidden. After that, an additional option will pop up that will let users undo the downvote or select a reason why they downvoted a comment. The options available appear to be “Offensive,” “Misleading” and “Off Topic.” This could make it easier for Facebook to moderate the comment section and identify inappropriate comments quickly.

Facebook says that this is merely a short-term test that won’t affect the ranking of posts, comments and Pages. Number of downvotes won’t be visible publicly and it’s designed as a new way of giving feedback to Facebook. The downvote option only appears on public posts by Pages and not on posts created by Groups, public figures or regular users.

Again, this is not a Dislike button, which Facebook users have been asking for a long time. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained back in 2015 that they didn’t want to add a dislike button because they didn’t want to turn the social media site into a forum “where people are voting up or down on people’s posts. That doesn’t seem like the kind of community we want to create.”

Facebook hasn’t backed down from its stance and instead created “Reactions” option alongside the longstanding “Like” button in 2016. Facebook Reactions lets users respond to comments and post with emojis corresponding with love, wow, haha, sad or angry.

This new Downvote feature is the closest thing to a Facebook Dislike button and it appears to be very similar to Reddit’s own comments ranking system, as pointed out by The Verge. This may actually help Facebook in collecting data and insight on what types of discussions are going on in the comment section.

It really is too early to tell how this could improve the Facebook community, but it is in line with the company’s efforts to promote “meaningful social interactions” on the platform.

Facebook Facebook confirms that it's testing Downvote button for comments, but it's not a Dislike button. Photo: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic