Kiwi Facebook users are testing out new public comment voting feature - but it's not a 'dislike' button

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Some New Zealanders are getting the chance to try out a new Facebook feature where comments with "bad intentions" can be downvoted and reduced in visibility, and those which are insightful can be upvoted.

Facebook is testing a feature which lets users upvote or downvote comments on the posts from public pages.

Facebook is testing a feature which lets users upvote or downvote comments on the posts from public pages.

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At the moment, posts on public pages can only be reacted to with six options - a like, a laugh, a frown, a wow, a sad face and a heart - and Facebook determines which comments should appear at the top of a post based on the emotional response and engagement it gets.

Mashable reports that Facebook has rolled out a test of a new feature where posts on public pages also have an up arrow and a down arrow, so that unhelpful or malicious comments can be voted down and helpful or insightful comments can be voted up.

The up/down mechanic is similar to the system used at content aggregation and discussion website Reddit, except it is only available specifically on the comments of public page's posts.

A trial of the system took place with some US users in February, and it has now been expanded to some users in Australia and New Zealand.

A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement that "public discussions are an important part of Facebook, and people have told us they want more ways to make sure those discussions are constructive – even when people might disagree with each other.

"Facebook is a place for free expression, but we also recognize 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 upvote and downvote 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."

Facebook has stressed that the feature is not a "dislike" button, despite that being a widely-requested feature.

The multi-national social media company has faced intense scrutiny in recent weeks, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg fronting the US Congress to answer questions about protecting users' data and privacy.

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