April 30, 2018 07:41 PM NPT
Photo courtesy: BBC.com
San Francisco, April 30: Facebook is now testing its "downvote" button in New Zealand, following a similar trial which took place in the US in February.
The tool, which appears on some public posts, will let people hide comments and provide feedback about them.
Discussion site Reddit has a successful "downvote" option that reduces the visibility of unpopular posts.
Facebook said the button was being tested to see whether it enabled "better public discussions".
"Our hope is that this feature will make it easier for us to create such spaces, by ranking the comments that readers believe deserve to rank highest, rather than the comments that get the strongest emotional reaction," said a spokesman.
The tech giant added that the button is not a "dislike" button.
While the new trial is geographically taking place in New Zealand, some Facebook users in Australia have also reported seeing it.
CNet said that colleagues in its Sydney-based office could see the button "on certain public pages that were created in Australia, and only on Facebook's mobile app".
The "downvote" tool should be viewed in light of the firm's efforts to change the way people consume news on Facebook said Jack Kent, an analyst at IHS Markit.
"Given the current debate about Facebook's role in public online discourse and news, it makes sense that the platform is trialing different ways for users to interact with content in a public setting," he said.
However, the firm needs to retain a balance between allowing positive and negative feedback, and maintaining debate, he added.
"While the company has been quite vocal in its opposition to launching a 'dislike' feature, it did expand its options from simply liking posts and content to a range of emojis in 2016," Mr Kent said.