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Facebook Is Testing a Dislike Button (thedailybeast.com) 146

Ever since the inception of the Like button, Facebook users have been asking for a "dislike" button. Today, Facebook is testing a "downvote" button with certain users in the comment section of posts within Facebook groups and on old Facebook memories content. The Daily Beast reports: The feature appears to give users the ability to downrank certain comments. This is the first time Facebook has tested anything similar to a "dislike" button and it could theoretically allow for content that's offensive or relevant to be pushed to the bottom of a comment feed. In 2016, citing Facebook executives, Bloomberg said a dislike button "had been rejected on the grounds that it would sow too much negativity" to the platform. It's unclear how widely the dislike button is being tested. Facebook regularly tests features with small subsets of users that never end up rolling out to the broader public. Most users currently are only able to either Like or Reply to comments in a thread. The downvote option could have radical implications on what types of discussions and comments flourish on the platform. While it could theoretically be used to de-rank inflammatory or problematic comments, it could also easily be used as a tool for abuse.

Facebook Is Testing a Dislike Button

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  • This is incendiary (Score:5, Interesting)

    by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @08:42PM (#56092841)

    Like a grenade. You thought Facebook was bombastic before? Watch the fury when you can thumbs-down something. The cesspool will get deeper still. This doesn't do anything but start fights.

    • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @08:50PM (#56092873)

      Unfortunately, negative social interaction is more engaging than positive. The users will be less happy - hell, some will be downright miserable - but they'll be more engaged, more addicted to getting likes and getting a rush from watching 'enemies' get a dislike.

      See: Reddit. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than a social networking site with this kind of unlimited feedback system.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by postbigbang ( 761081 )

        Maybe it's another version of social media's dystopian future. Bring in the zombies.....

      • by un1nsp1red ( 2503532 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @09:07PM (#56092955) Homepage
        The difference is facebook is (ostensibly) limited to the people with whom you are *friends*. With reddit, anyone can up/downvote you. Facebook doesn't have the anonymity. I doubt the impact would be remotely comparable.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Baron_Yam ( 643147 )

          I'll see you that '(ostensibly) limited to the people with whom you are *friends*' and raise you a 'friends, but mostly people you want to measure yourself against to boost your weak self esteem in a petty popularity contest'.

          Does Facebook allow you to see the likes and dislikes themselves on everything? Because if there isn't an account name tagged to each, it'll quickly turn to a shitshow.

          In fact, I think it will even then, because it'll get personal a lot faster.

          • Does Facebook allow you to see the likes and dislikes themselves on everything?

            By clicking on each "reaction" class (like, funny, love, angry, sad) you can see exactly who picked what. Which is funny because you can easily find people who "like" their own posts/messages.

            • you can easily find people who "like" their own posts/messages.

              What's the point? That's like jacking off and then sending yourself flowers for the great time you had.

        • by Wycliffe ( 116160 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @09:31PM (#56093029) Homepage

          The difference is facebook is (ostensibly) limited to the people with whom you are *friends*. With reddit, anyone can up/downvote you. Facebook doesn't have the anonymity. I doubt the impact would be remotely comparable.

          Which is exactly why facebook should have anonymous dislikes and anonymous disagree buttons.
          Most people already live in an echo chamber but that echo chamber is magnified because very few people
          are willing to call their friends out when they post stuff they disagree with. By being allowed to
          anonymously disagree with a post you could signal to a friend that you really didn't like their racist
          or otherwise inflammatory post. They would know one of their friends disagreed with it which might give
          them pause but they wouldn't know which friend. It also might encourage people to prune their
          friend lists more often.

          • No matter whether it's anonymous or not, it's wrong.

            If it's anonymous, anyone controversial will find him- or herself being "friended" by a lot of people who will by default dislike anything they do, simply because they hate him or her for what they represent.

            If it's not, nobody will dare to dislike in the echo chamber because people who want to live in echo chambers rarely want to be criticized or called out for their bullshit.

            • If it's anonymous, anyone controversial will find him- or herself being "friended" by a lot of people who will by default dislike anything they do, simply because they hate him or her for what they represent.

              Facebook shouldn't have this problem because you have to approve all friend requests. I have almost zero friends on facebook that I haven't met in person.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          The difference is facebook is (ostensibly) limited to the people with whom you are *friends*. With reddit, anyone can up/downvote you. Facebook doesn't have the anonymity. I doubt the impact would be remotely comparable.

          Mom?!!?!? YOU DISLIKED ME??!?! UNFRIEND!!!!!

        • You think? How many people will "friend" celebrities for the sole purpose of downvoting them, if only to see the fans go bananas. How many controversial online "celebrities" will get that treatment?

          I predict a few of the more controversial people will cause a Facebook voting war.

          Not that I'm against that. Far from it. Pass the popcorn.

          • Opportunist snorted:

            You think? How many people will "friend" celebrities for the sole purpose of downvoting them, if only to see the fans go bananas.

            Your comments - not just this one, but all of them - on this topic reveal your foundational ignorance of how "friendship" works on FB. Or, to put it another way, you're clearly talking out your ass here.

            To begin with, FB limits everyone to a maximum of 5,000 "friends". For users who are actually celebrities, that's a pretty small number. In order to add a new "friend", a celebrity who already has 5,000 must first de-friend one of those users to open up a slo

        • Facebook hasn't really been about friends from nearly the start. Personally I don't even see the point of a like button, except as a bookmark.

      • Make a place negative enough and people do eventually disengage. Look at our national politics. Turnout is at a low point.

        If we can make the negativity in the platform more explicit, harder to ignore - that might drive down membership. I hope this is an oversight on FBs part, and I hope they continue to make that oversight.
      • by mfh ( 56 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @10:37PM (#56093229) Homepage Journal

        The users will be less happy - hell, some will be downright miserable - but they'll be more engaged,

        You're right. However, users can choose not to participate on Facebook.

        Personally, FB is an addressbook. As long as my addressbook can't downvote my ACCOUNT, who cares?

        I don't post much and if I post something that I'm interested in and people downvote, I will ask them what's up because they are people I know. If their explanation is sketchy or rude, unfriend. Problem solved.

        Good riddance to bad rubbish.

        People really need to start growing up and taking their own responsibility regarding their behaviour and mood. If your mood is bad, why is it bad? Are you worn out from running on the FB treadmill of clicking and being possessed by your friends list?

        Every human being knows if they are getting sick from toxic things. FB's toxicity is SLOW. It won't kill you right away but it could if the depression or anxiety from whether you will get accepted or not gets bad enough.

        Dopamine is what FB is after. It's proven that a 66% negative exposure will double the high you get when you get one upvote or comment.

        But FB has had downvote installed for YEARS. It was just internal. If they say they didn't have it then why are so many user posts never seen by ANYONE?

        Once the downvote feature is live, the FB feed can go back to realtime posts from all friends. Users could then just lower visibility on friends they care less about.

      • See: Reddit. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than a social networking site with this kind of unlimited feedback system.

        No. A thousand times no. It really depends on the subreddit. In some subs, vile content abounds. In others, it's downvoted into oblivion, if it even appears at all. An example is /r/math — one of the most polite places on Reddit.

        In my experience, most of Reddit is pretty sane, with limited bile. Contrast this with Facebook public groups, where it's impossible to downvote slime and filth (you can only upvote posts and comments by Liking and Loving them). I'd much rather have Reddit's system. Downvotes

        • Math is rarely controversial. Math is right, or it isn't.

          Try that with politics.

          • Math is rarely controversial. Math is right, or it isn't.

            Try that with politics.

            You have been banned from /r/Pyongyang

          • That isn't the point. The point is that many subreddits are very, very friendly and cordial. /r/math is just one example. The unlimited downvote feedback system has nothing whatsoever to do with some subs having scum and villainy; what causes that is the fact that anyone can create a new sub about any topic.
      • by lister king of smeg ( 2481612 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @02:43AM (#56093897)

        See: Reddit. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than a social networking site with this kind of unlimited feedback system.

        Oh you naive summer child. I take it you have never been to /b/ [4chan.org] before.

        • Reddit outdid /b/ long ago. Maybe the reddit trolls are less refined, cruder, less obnoxious and certainly less persistent. But what they lack in quality, they more than make up in quantity.

      • > See: Reddit. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than a social networking site with this kind of unlimited feedback system.

        Err.. this may vary wildly between the different subreddits.

    • Maybe. But look at the outcome of Facebook where the only counted response is positive reinforcement. People post the worst of the worst garbage and it gets likes - but no dislikes, only positive reinforcement. That may have as much to do as anything with the cesspool we have.

      • Does it end up calming the noise? Imagine the interactions:
        * Parents, Children
        *Friends, Acquaintances, Frenemies
        *Politicians
        *Marketing/Product/Services organizations (Think: XFinity)
        *Neo-political organizations; NGOs, Not-For-Profits
        *Religious entities, schools, universities, affiliated clubs/networks
        *For Sale items (already looking like a dystopic Craigslist)

        All of these can now be downvoted, and each and every post. Imagine the glee. Imagine the fuel poured on the existing flames. Grab an oxygen tank.

    • by shanen ( 462549 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @10:27PM (#56093189) Homepage Journal

      Is there a kernel of insight there? Hard to tell on so few words, but it doesn't matter since I never see a mod point of any sort.

      You [postbigbang and the similar authors whose comments I've seen so far] didn't offer anything like a constructive suggestion. My basic suggestion (explained at more length below in my initial reactive comment on the story) is that the negative side should call for more effort. The negative sentiment should be less freely expressed than the positive to tilt the scales in favor of positive interactions. (Ditto earned public reputations.)

      • People tend to criticize more than praise. Anger, bile, trolling, all these are in plentiful supply, and seemingly with little effort.

        Add to this brew, millions of un-vetted users in the form of bots, where posts can be searched as they spread, and bots can attack each post at will.

        This won't end well.

        • by shanen ( 462549 )

          Read what I wrote. I'm sort of agreeing with you, but offering a constructive suggestion. Or at least a starting point for the search for a solution.

          I do disagree with you new point, "This won't end well." I would say in response that the average trend has been up and things have gotten better, but there are fluctuations and we are in a jeopardy situation now. The oscillations may be too serious...

    • by Dracos ( 107777 )

      Facebook would morph from Digg to Reddit. As much as I'd like to see Facebook sublimated into space, a dislike button wouldn't accomplish that.

    • Just don't allow an infinite number of dislikes. Say you have to give two likes to something before one dislke.

  • by toonces33 ( 841696 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @08:43PM (#56092845)

    I click to say that I dislike Facebook?

    • by TWX ( 665546 )

      The noscript button on your plugins icons on your browser. Just make sure it's set to never even ask to enable javascript from them.

      I'd block them at the firewall if my wife didn't use it to look at family stuff from time to time.

  • To be first? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TWX ( 665546 )

    How would you like to be the schmuck they tried this feature on on first?

    "Mr. TWX, having reviewed your social-media footprint, we feel that you're a good fit for our new feature. We expect that dozens, nay HUNDREDS of dislikes will accrue on your posts. Please enjoy beta-testing this new feature!"

  • It's a seriously bad move as the status quo keeps things positive. Either you like or you ignore it. Hate is too easy and too fashionable these days. There's enough negativity in the media as it is.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There's enough negativity in the media as it is.

      Quoting the president is the media's job.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seth MacFarlane already covered what happens to society after the introduction of the down vote and it wasn't good.

  • So I won't have to reply "Dislike." to posts I don't like anymore?
    Hooray!

  • To ensure a healthy supply of positivity, Facebook should only let a user dislike something after they've liked 10 times elsewhere.
    • by pikine ( 771084 )
      Case in point, Slashdot is mired with negativity precisely because some mods abuse the system to mod down a meritorious post. They would have to think twice if they were required to mod something up 10 times before modding something down. In any case, I'm sure the metamods will ensure that the bad moderators will fade into oblivion in the long run, but the short term damage is done.
  • by shanen ( 462549 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @10:16PM (#56093167) Homepage Journal

    I actually think that each of the subjective dimensions should be symmetric (on Facebook and even here on Slashdot), but the playing field should still be tilted in favor of the positive side. You want to make it easier for people to do and be good. In a simple implementation, clicking "Like" can be easy, while clicking "Dislike" can involve an extra step to say why.

    However I think that Like-Dislike is basically a weak and almost meaningless dimension. In terms of meaning, I think you can argue that it should increase the general weight of a comment's positive ratings, but on its own there is little meaning to it. Therefore I think the better dimensions of sentiment should have clear meanings. Dimensions such as true-false (or informative-disinformative or valid-invalid) or funny-unfunny (to me). For example, if you say a comment is false, then you would have to indicate which part was false and why. (And if it turned out you are lying, then YOUR own reputation should suffer. More symmetry.)

    (Bells and whistles in dimensional thinking for sentiments: I also think the dimensions should be able to evolve over time, and that the dimensions of earned public reputation should age to encourage people to act better and see their reputations gradually improve. People with earned negative reputations should be easier to filter against, thus allowing them to be as negative as they like for the (negative) benefit of people who actually want to spend their time that way. Also, a person who has an earned reputation in a particular dimension should get extra weight, as with a rating from a proven funny person (based on reactions from other people) counting more heavily in rating another comment as funny or unfunny.)

    The clumsy, ad hoc, and poorly considered dimensions of Slashdot's moderation are an excellent example of how NOT to do it. Take that "troll" dimension, for example. (I wish someone would.) What is it supposed to mean? I think that the dimension may have a catchy label, but it lacks meaning. Some combination of "negative politeness" and "negative truth" combined with an earned reputation for "negative agreement"? (I think the general meaning on today's Slashdot is that a sock puppet has a mod point to burn, but that might be jealous projection since I never get a mod point.)

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @02:33AM (#56093877) Homepage

      The clumsy, ad hoc, and poorly considered dimensions of Slashdot's moderation are an excellent example of how NOT to do it. Take that "troll" dimension, for example. (I wish someone would.) What is it supposed to mean?

      Well, they boil down to +1 or -1 anyway so whether you use troll or flamebait or offtopic or overrated hardly matters. Those who tend to abuse it the most always pick overrated anyway. I think trolling is pretty well defined, but to each his own. Personally I'd probably just disconnect them and have mod points basically be "more people should see this" or "less people should see this" and have the rest be like a popular emotion-vote. It'd probably have to be a mix of descriptive - this post is informative / insightful / important / crazy / trolling / flamebait / crap and reactive - this post makes me feel happy / sad / angry / afraid / disgusted / surprised / excited etc. and actually I'm thinking maybe that is two dimensions.... a post can both be insightful and make me feel happy/angry/sad.

      • by shanen ( 462549 )

        I think you have some confusion about the dimensional topic. The dimensions should represent orthogonal aspects of the comments and the sentiments towards them. Also the dimensions should be symmetric with the people who made the comments.

        You raised another aspect with the scoring. I think it should be logarithmic with special handling for zero. I actually imagine it as a radar diagram with an axis for each dimension, but the axes are actually folded for positive and negative on each axis. Not sure if that'

    • by dwpro ( 520418 )
      You make some good points there, but I disagree about the meaningless of troll. Back in the days of metamoderation, having specific labels for trolls was helpful. The burden of tracking down the context across threads would have gone from onerous to implausible without it.
      • by shanen ( 462549 )

        I think it's too relativistic. Everyone draws the line differently, but in contrast I think it would be much easier to understand and agree on what a dimension like "polite" is and get meaningful ratings on that dimension. You might feel rudeness (AKA negative politeness) is really a major annoyance and want to weigh that dimension heavily, whereas I might prefer to grant more slack on that dimension (perhaps because I lack social grace).

        Maybe another example would be more helpful. What does "off topic" mea

  • Slashdot had both negative and positive moderation since the 90's and it does work. The problem with Facebook's likes/dislikes/etc are that they ENTIRELY opaque in how they operate to anyone except the people who literally work in the "feed ordering" division at FB -- and even then, if you were to leave for even a week they could completely change it again and you'd have no idea how it works. Of course, if you are a paid propagandist, you probably have the most time

    If only someone could come up with a decen

  • Put a Dislike button ln all posts. Anyone who clicks it is banned for two weeks. There is no other effect.

    This will improve Facebook immensely, because the only people who would ever find any real use for a Dislike button are people who should not be on Facebook. Why not let them self-select for the banhammer?

  • by qzzpjs ( 1224510 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @11:00PM (#56093319)

    And I haven't really seen any bad abuse there. The dislikes are usually very small compared to likes. I actually dislike social media sites that only expect you to like everything.

    • One of the more interesting uses of a dislike button has been for Youtube CEO Susan Wojcicki's own first video. [youtube.com] While I expect that the count was frozen after it hit a 10:1 ratio, the message from viewers was clear.

      Usually the videos with that ratio of dislikes is just clickbait.

  • I Dislike Facebook...

  • I don't think his ego could handle too many dislikes.

  • Where is this button?
    I want to press it.

  • This is why we all love the great work they do at Facebook!

  • People have been killed http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com] or had their house set on fire https://www.aol.com/2011/11/03... [aol.com] for unfriending somebody. Dislike at your own risk.

  • A Dislike buttton has two possible meanings:
    1. I dislike the truth your post highlights.
    2. I dislike your post because it disagrees with my world view.

    For example, if someone posts "Climate change is a serious threat," I could dislike it because either:

    1. I dislike the fact that climate change is real and is a serious threat.
    2. I dislike your post because I disagree with the whole notion of climate change.

    People will use Dislike for both. Note that the existing Angry emoji option has the same problem. Also no

  • by mlawrence ( 1094477 ) <martin@martinlawren[ ]ca ['ce.' in gap]> on Friday February 09, 2018 @03:01AM (#56093937) Homepage
    I have been using the "Angry" or "Laughter" reaction when I disagree with something.
  • Don't show the dislikes. Keep it internal to the system. Just make disliked things disappear.
  • by kurkosdr ( 2378710 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @05:26AM (#56094235)
    Great, that's what Facebook needs. A neckband patrol downvoting anything it finds mildly offensive, like the one we have here in Slashdot
  • ...do Facebook.
  • What I want is an eyeroll button. They've already got laughter, which you can use to laugh at people. I want an eye roll, which doesn't even dignify their idiotic comment with a laugh. I would settle for side eye.

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @08:33AM (#56094627)

    Using bind

    zone "appspot.com" { type master; file "/etc/bind/spam2.hosts"; };
    zone "cdninstagram.com" { type master; file "/etc/bind/spam2.hosts"; };
    zone "edgesuite.net" { type master; file "/etc/bind/spam2.hosts"; };
    zone "facebook.com" { type master; file "/etc/bind/spam2.hosts"; };
    zone "facebook.net" { type master; file "/etc/bind/spam2.hosts"; };
    zone "fbcdn.com" { type master; file "/etc/bind/spam2.hosts"; };
    zone "fbcdn.net" { type master; file "/etc/bind/spam2.hosts"; };
    zone "fb.com" { type master; file "/etc/bind/spam2.hosts"; };
    zone "fb.me" { type master; file "/etc/bind/spam2.hosts"; };
    zone "fbsbx.com" { type master; file "/etc/bind/spam2.hosts"; };
    zone "instagram.com" { type master; file "/etc/bind/spam2.hosts"; };
    zone "online-metrix.net" { type master; file "/etc/bind/spam2.hosts"; };
    zone "tfbnw.net" { type master; file "/etc/bind/spam2.hosts"; };
    zone "whatsapp.com" { type master; file "/etc/bind/spam2.hosts"; };

    Works wonders.

  • I have some family members that seem to be dragging the dregs of some site and pull up crap that is months and years old, as if it is relevant now. Would really like a way of showing my dislike for that old crap. I want NEW crap! If it's not warm, why bother! (Yes, there is some sarcasm here, but there is also the bitter truth that this does happen all the time)

  • How exciting watching the great innovations of the 21st century unfold before our eyes.

  • And dislike speech.
    Dislikers gonna dislike.
    New Tarantino Film: The Dislikeful Eight.
    Oh, and Marvel has a new villain now: The Dislikemonger.

  • On Facebook, a lot of times, I don't want to "mod the post down". I just want this post, and any post like it, to be gone from my newsfeed.

    I've got Facebook friends across the political spectrum. Some I want to see their personal posts, but I don't want to see anything political from either the ones with Antifa leanings, or the hard-core Trumpunists.

    If I could say "Never show me anything from (these people) which mentions Trump", I'd be much happier with Facebook. (Well, somewhat less disgusted with it,

  • Well I guess that leaves something for the handful of remaining mothers and elderly that still use facebook.

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