Facebook Downvote Button: Why Zuckerberg Avoided It for So Long

It works a lot like Reddit's downvote button.

Flickr / zeevveez

At long last the internet’s pleas to Facebook have been heard — sort of.

Facebook confirmed on Thursday that it is now testing a “downvote” button, a feature that will let only select users flag and hide comments they believe are offensive or inappropriate. But don’t jump for joy just yet — the company insisted that this is not a feature to tell your friends that their post is lame, it’s more of a way to help gauge how many comments are inappropriate on certain posts.

“We are not testing a dislike button,” a Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider. “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.”

In short, this isn’t exactly the “dislike” feature Facebook users were clamoring for when Mark Zuckerberg announced the addition of “Reactions” back in 2016. But it is a step in a direction that Zuckerberg seemed reluctant to move toward.

During a 2014 Q&A session at Facebook’s headquarters, the CEO said that there is literally no chance that a dislike button will be implemented on the site.

“Some people have asked for a dislike button because they want to be able to say, ‘That thing isn’t good,’” Zuckerberg said, according to an -Adweek transcription of the event. “We’re not going to build that, and I don’t think there needs to be a voting mechanism on Facebook about whether posts are good or bad. I don’t think that’s socially very valuable or good for the community to help people share the important moments in their lives.”


Essentially, he doesn’t want users antagonizing each other with the click of a button. But if you’ve ever spent 10 minutes on Facebook you’d see that people in the comments constantly pick fights with each other. The introduction of this downvote button might be a way to combat that.

This new addition to Facebook is extremely similar to Reddit’s downvote button. The only difference is that Facebook users will have to justify why they downvoted a certain comment, so you won’t be able to just go on a thumbs-down spree.

If developers find the feature helpful for weeding out toxic comments, it’s possible they’ll extend it to more accounts, or perhaps make it a permanent feature. At this point, it’s still too early to tell.

Until then, we’ll just have to keep “reacting” with an angry emoji every time something infuriating comes up on our feeds.