Wednesday , 15 August 2018
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Facebook rips of Reddit as it starts testing ‘downvote’ feature

IF YOU’VE JUST WEATHERED A DATA SCANDAL then why not rip-off someone else’s idea to stoke up some more controversy, because that’s what Facebook appears to have done.

Facebook appears to be testing a feature that allows its users to ‘upvote’ or ‘downvote’ comments made by others on posts, in a style very similar to Reddit.

While Facebook hasn’t made any announcements, the news, ironically, seems to have broken on Twitter with people sharing pictures and thoughts on the ability to effectively approve or disapprove of a person’s comment.

One would think that Reddit might take exception at Facebook effectively nicking one of its key features, but its co-founder Alexis Ohanian simply tweeted that he was “flattered”. We guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,

Facebook’s up and downvoting feature looks to be founder Mark Zuckerberg’s commitment to finding ways to “encourage meaningful interactions between people” coming into effect, though it looks like the social network is merely testing the waters at the moment as the feature looks to be limited to the Southern Hemisphere for the time being.

“People have told us they would like to see better public discussions on Facebook, and want spaces where people with different opinions can have more constructive dialogue,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNET.

“To that end, we’re running a small test in New Zealand which allows people to upvote or downvote comments on public Page posts. 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.”

The problem with aping a Reddit feature is the risk that it could turn Facebook into a pastiche of the news sharing site, with people competing for upvotes or being trolled with downvotes. However, one could argue Facebook already has something similar with its ability to add reaction emojis to posts and comments that can denote whether they meet the approval of other people.

Still, plonking in a derivative feature into the well-established social networking is better than sucking up loads of user data then ending up with it being passed on to people who shouldn’t have it, then facing a probe by US senators for not being more responsible. µ

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