Facebook Messenger is testing a dislike reaction button (astonished face!)

Lynsey Barber
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Thumbs down is now an option for friends you message

Facebook is playing around with what might just be the most demanded feature ever on the social network - a dislike button.

It's not quite a thumbs up to a thumbs down yet, but the tech giant's messaging service is hosting tests of a new dislike reaction, joining others such as love, angry and sad. It would make an eighth addition to the gamut of emotions which can be expressed via Facebook.

According to TechCrunch, one user got in touch to say he spotted the new options, including the dislike, in Messenger. Previously the reactions have only been available as an option within the Facebook news feed as a way to interact with posts.

Read more: Now you can transfer money just by talking to a Facebook Messenger chatbot

Facebook confirmed the eagle-eyed spot, telling the publication: "We’re always testing ways to make Messenger more fun and engaging. This is a small test where we enable people to share an emoji that best represents their feelings on a message.”

According to the report, it's more of a "no" reaction, but the thumbs down will likely be taken by users as the opposite of Facebook's original thumbs up like button.

Dislike "button" joins Facebook's other reactions on Messenger test

A dislike reaction in Messenger makes more sense than in a general news feed. In the messaging app, you're more likely to be chatting with someone you know, whereas in the general news feed, the little emojis can be used to react to posts to anyone posting publicly. In a time of high tensions on social media with abuse, trolling and fake news, it's unlikely Facebook would want to hand out such a negative tool.

Read more: 3 major changes Facebook's made to trending topics in the fake news war

When reactions was first announced last year, founder and chief Mark Zuckerberg said: "Our community has been asking for a dislike button for years, but not because people want to tell friends they don't like their posts. People wanted to express empathy and make it comfortable to share a wider range of emotions."

Zuckerberg said he had "spent a lot of time thinking about the right way to do this", and added: "Love is the most popular reaction so far, which feels about right to me!"

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