TikTok announced today that it has started testing a way for users to identify comments that they think are irrelevant or inappropriate. Following the announcement, the company confirmed to TechCrunch that users who are part of the test will be able to flag these sorts of comments via a private dislike button. The new feature is currently being tested in select regions, excluding the United States.
Once a user dislikes a comment, the dislike won’t be public and commenters won’t be notified that their comment has been disliked. Commenters and other users also won’t be able to see how many times a comment has been disliked.
TikTok said it sees the button as a way for users to flag comments that may be spam or that don’t make sense in the context of the video they’re posted under. The company explained that the dislike button isn’t seen as a way to report comments, and that users should use the standard process for reporting comments for harassment, hate speech, bullying, etc.
“We’ve started testing a way to let individuals identify comments they believe to be irrelevant or inappropriate,” the company said in a blog post about the new test. “This community feedback will add to the range of factors we already use to help keep the comment section consistently relevant and a place for genuine engagement.”
The company declined to share details about the dislike button’s UI.
It seems that TikTok has been developing the dislike button for quite some time now, as social media consultant Matt Navarra first spotted the feature in March 2020.
Variations of dislike buttons are available on several digital platforms. YouTube offers a thumbs down button for comments, but the dislike count is private. On the other hand, Reddit offers a similar down vote button for comments, but total tallies for upvotes and downvotes are public. In addition, Twitter has been testing a private downvote button for replies to tweets.
Along with the new private dislike button, TikTok is also beginning to experiment with reminders that will guide users to the app’s comment filtering and bulk block and delete options. The reminders will be shown to users whose videos are getting lots of negative comments. TikTok will test the feature and decide whether to roll it out fully in the coming weeks based on the outcome of the test.
If rolled out fully, the feature would join TikTok’s existing tools for creators, such as the option to choose to filter all comments for manual review, or filter comments that include keywords that they have selected. Users also have the option to select who can comment on their content. For example, you can choose to allow anyone on the platform to comment, only people you follow back or no one at all.