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TikTok is setting a safer way to dislike bad comments

A dislike button is apparently coming to TikTok soon, but it will be only visible for comments, and the gesture remains a rather private affair. TikTok announced that the company is currently testing a dislike button that appears in the form of a thumbs-down icon in the comments section.

Select few users that are a part of a test circle have started seeing the dislike button in their comments section. However, it appears that the company has been prepping the feature for the past few months. Social media evangelist Matt Navarra first tweeted about the dislike feature on TikTok in January this year.

However, the feature is currently in the soak testing phase, and will only be rolled out once the company gets the community feedback about its benefits and downsides. TikTok tells TechCrunch that the dislike button is currently being tested in regions outside the US, but it hasn’t shared any details regarding its wider rollout plans.

A safer and more considerate dislike

A striking feature of TikTok’s dislike button is the fact that it is private. Once a TikTok user hits the dislike button on a problematic comment, the company’s moderation system will register the response. Neither the original commenter, nor the creator on whose content it was commented upon, will see the dislike.

Of course, there won’t be a visible dislike count either. TikTok notes that it is keeping the dislike response private in order to avoid any ill feelings between creators and their viewers. Moreover, it will also keep content creators from feeling disheartened if comments under their videos become a dislike magnet.

Tiktok has a dislike button???????

— BTS PAVED THE WAY⁷ (@thanosmfstan) April 13, 2022

Tiktok says the dislike button is being tested as a way for users to “identify comments they believe to be irrelevant or inappropriate.” It is unclear how TikTok’s content moderation system will process each dislike gesture to take necessary action. Moreover, TikTok hasn’t divulged if there’s a threshold to the number of dislikes on a comment for it to be reviewed for policy violation.

TikTok isn’t the only social media platform to fiddle with a dislike button. Reddit has had a downvote button for posts for a while now. YouTube has a thumbs down button too, but the company hides the number of dislikes after a recent policy change to protect creators. Twitter has also been testing a downvote button for a while now, and earlier this year, the company expanded the test to the platform’s Android and web clients.

A hidden dislike gesture is a safer moderation tactic, as it prevents toxic fans and haters from launching a coordinated attack on social media. YouTube is the best example of dislike bombing, a phenomenon that ultimately forced the company to remove the number of dislikes from a video.

TikTok is no stranger to the cult of rabid fandom, with conspiracy theories as well as propaganda content also traveling at lightspeed on the platform. Bad actors often take refuge in the comments section of content shared by influential creators to peddle their scams and agendas. Just take a look at the comments section on YouTube and other social media platforms to see the rampant phishing and crypto-related scam invitations. TikTok is taking a cautious approach here, hoping that the dislike button actually proves to be a helpful addition toward creating a less toxic online space.

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Nadeem Sarwar
Nadeem is a tech journalist who started reading about cool smartphone tech out of curiosity and soon started writing…
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