Any Facebook user will know the frustration of comments flashing through their news feed that are misconstrued and sometimes irritating. From angry remarks on media stories to opinionated and offensive comments on viral videos, Facebook is full of outspoken people. While there is already a function to react to comments, a new update is being rolled out. This update involves users being able to up-vote and down-vote comments, leaving the ones with the most support visible at the top of discussion threads and showing less of comments that people find to be inappropriate.
Why do we need this function?
One of the obvious reasons people use Facebook is that it’s a place where they can freely share their thoughts. In fact, they’re encouraged to. So why should we then judge the opinions of others?
It basically comes down to relevancy and positive user experience. As Mark Zuckerberg has made quite clear when introducing this year’s major algorithm change, he wants the content people see on their feeds to be pleasant, relevant and meaningful. If a comment has been up-voted, it is likely to contribute something valuable. This is the kind of content Facebook wants its users to be seeing more of.
While many will see the down side of this feature, it is not quite as negative as a ‘dislike’ button. It is rather a way to prevent comments that may not have the best intentions. Unlike a ‘dislike’ button, this new voting system will allow one user to disagree with another in a respectful way.
A word from Facebook…
One of the reasons Facebook’s team wanted to test this feature was to see if it affected public discussions in a positive way. A spokesperson for Facebook gave the following statement: “Facebook is a place for free expression, but we also recognise that there should be a way for people tell us and each other which comments are most thoughtful and useful. To that end, we’re running a test that introduces an up-vote and down-vote action for comments on large public page posts.
“This feature allows people to push those thoughtful and engaging comments to the top of the discussion thread, and to move down the ones that are simply attacks or filled with profanity. This does not affect your personal News Feed or interactions with friends.”
When will it roll out?
According to The Guardian, the feature was originally trialled on Facebook users from Australia and New Zealand. However, some UK users are starting to notice the changes. If it continues to be received positively, you can expect to see it in comment threads any day now.