Right now there are two kinds of people on the Internet - the ones who are overjoyed with the fact that Facebook is building the much awaited “Dislike” button, and the second who are having high blood pressure after reading Facebook’s latest announcement. Marketers, who hold the majority for the second set of people, don’t read those headlines that say Facebook finally has a dislike button.
The truth is that CEO Mark Zuckerberg can’t be so harsh with brands; Facebook is building a new button but it is not a dislike button. “I think people have asked about the Dislike button for many years…today is the day where I actually get to say that we’re working on it, and are very close to shipping a test of it,” said Mark in a public Q&A organized at Facebook.
He further stated that the company was working on a way to show empathy for victims of tragedies and other things that are inappropriate to Like. “We didn’t want to just build a Dislike button because we don’t want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts. That doesn’t seem like the kind of community we want to create.”
However, most news outlets of the world focused on the fact that Facebook is building a dislike button. A title very close to a click bait one to give maximum views.
This isn’t the first time to see a debate around the dislike button. Last year during the second Q&A session Mark had clarified he has no interest in giving people the means to be mean. “Some people have asked for a dislike button before. They want to be able to say that a thing isn’t good and that’s not something that we think is good for the world. So we’re not going to build that. I don’t think there needs to be a voting mechanism on Facebook whether posts are good or bad. I don’t think that’s socially very valuable or good for the community.”
But Zuckerberg did say that Facebook has had internal discussions about giving people something in addition to the like button to express alternative emotions when the thumbs up doesn’t seem appropriate. The death of a loved one, for instance, or the sharing of a troubling news story. “I think giving people the power to do that in more ways with more emotions would be powerful. But we need to figure out the right way to do it so it ends up being a force for good and not a force for bad and demeaning the posts that people are putting out there.”
Today’s announcement is matching up the promise that Mark had made last year. So very soon we will see alternative emotions giving company to the very popular Like button.
While this is a sigh of relief for brands as they will not have to see how many fans have disliked their posts on regular basis, over all having a dislike button won’t do any good for the human race. We already have enough problems with Facebook fighting over issues like Internet bullying and a dislike button will clearly give more ways to build hatred. Misuse of the dislike button on personal posts to branded posts will be a very common scene.
TechCrunch predicts that Facebook might come up with a sorry button or something of that nature. “A word that when you read it, you know the sender understands the sadness of a story, and feels for you and the victims.”
Quite possible when there are so many conversations happening over Facebook that include terms like ‘RIP’, ‘hurt’, ‘fired’, or a tragic natural disaster. You really don’t want to Like it and go forward.
An empathy button will also clue the News Feed algorithm in to when a post isn’t ‘likeable’, but it’s still important for people to see.
With communication moving over to emoticons, this is a move at the right time. However at the same time brands can rest assured that Facebook wouldn’t think of making a dislike button ever.