Still want a Facebook ‘dislike’ button? Big blue tests ‘downvote’ option

Bill Roberson
Facebook tests out a 'downvote' button, Apple says the iBoot leak doesn't affect up-to-date devices, Waymo is now an Uber investor is a sudden and unexpected settlement of a major lawsuit.

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I downvote in your general direction

Ever since Facebook introduced the Like button – which first appeared five years AFTER Facebook was created – people have been asking for a “dislike” button, and now it looks like we could get one… maybe. Techcrunch says Facebook told them they are testing the “dislike” feature in the form of a “downvote” button on the phones of about five percent of English-language Android Facebook app users.

That’s a fair number of people actually, seeing how the social media giant has a user base of about 2 billion people. The downvote option doesn’t appear in groups on the pages for public figures… yet… and when you downvote something, you have to follow up with a quick click on why; including offensive, misleading and off-topic. You can also undo your downvote if you clicked it by mistake.

Facebook said the test is more geared toward them collecting internal feedback on posts rather than launching a way to bury a post in negative votes. However, Facebook has also pledged to fight “fake news” posts on the site after the site became a fake news conduit during the 2016 electing – thus the “misleading” option, we suppose. But we wonder: How would a dislike (or “downvote”) button affect what you post on Facebook?

Reddit has had the downvote option since forever, and it’s an interesting dynamic on the site. In these politically divisive times, a downvote option could see Facebook descend into a “like/dislike” war zone, possibly making the site a bit less fun. Do you agree? Leave us a comment on our YouTube page.

iBoot full of trouble? 

Apple was in a bit of a panic earlier this week when some iOS source code known as iBoot was posted up on GitHub. It had actually been posted for a number of weeks, but when word got out about what it actually was, Apple took action and had it removed from the site. But, of course, it was clearly copied and is out in the wild now, so Apple has also told CNET that if iPhone and iPad users’ devices are up to date, they’re safe, since the posted code was from iOS 9.

The problem with the code is that it’s used to boot up i-devices, and if hackers could somehow someway modify it and get it into a device running iOS 9, they could, conceivably, get around security protocols and possibly glean personal data from the devices. Apple said less than 7 percent of iOS devices out there are on an OS older than iOS 10, but that’s still millions of devices.

Overall, the worry level here is pretty low unless a hacker steals your iPhone 4 or iPad 2 and then hands it back to you an hour later with a wink and smile. Still, you might want to make sure your Apple gadgets are updated just to be sure.

Accident avoidance

Today was supposed to be a big day in the blockbuster Uber/Waymo trade secrets lawsuit, with central player Anthony Levandowski expected to take the stand. But it’s not going to happen as multiple outlets are reporting that Uber and Waymo – which is Google’s self-driving car division – have reached a surprise financial settlement. According to multiple outlets, Uber will pay Waymo $245 million, but not in cash.

Instead, Waymo will have that much “equity” in Uber, and according to press releases from both camps, they’re all buddy-buddy now and will work together – eh, somewhat – to really make this self-driving car thing happen sooner than later. A Google/Waymo press release unsurprisingly said the company is “committed to working with Uber to make sure that each company develops its own technology.”

New Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi called the Waymo team “friends”, “partners”, “investors” and also “competitors”, but also said Uber should have handled the contentious Otto self-driving semi-truck venture “differently.” He also said that they didn’t believe Uber was using any trade secrets from Waymo and that their future Lidar systems – the key tech at the center of the lawsuit – would represent “just OUR good work.”

The judge in the case said the settlement makes the case “ancient history.” We’ll see how long the peace holds and hopefully the companies can put their money into R&D rather than legal fees so we can finally get grandma that self-driving citypod she’s been wanting.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.