You don’t want a Facebook Dislike button

Chris Burns - Dec 12, 2014, 2:53pm CST
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You don’t want a Facebook Dislike button

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had a Q&A session last night in which he spoke about Facebook’s missing “Dislike” button. We’ve got the thumbs up, but we don’t have the thumbs down. He took a stab at a question about this feature this week because it the Like button is “an important way to sympathize or empathize with someone in an important moment that someone put themselves out there to share.” The Dislike button, on the other hand, wouldn’t exactly be an addition made without risks.

Harassment is a significant issue on Facebook. Zuckerberg said himself that “some people have asked for a Dislike button because they want to be able to say ‘That 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.”

What happens when you have a “Like” button on Facebook by itself? People use it for the following reasons:

• Acknowledgement that they’ve read the post
• Suggesting that they enjoy the content
• Suggesting that they agree with the content

Either you “Like” something or you comment on it. When you comment on a post, you’re allowed to write essentially whatever you want to write. Zuckerberg said this too, that you’ve already got the ability to disagree with a post on Facebook by commenting on it.

But what happens when there’s a “Dislike button?” The user that taps such a button does so for the following reasons:

• Suggesting that they do no like the content
• Suggesting that they do not agree with the content
• Expressing sympathy or empathy with the content’s author for whatever negative thing they’ve posted in the first place
• Harassment

It’s true that you CAN block someone on Facebook to get rid of their harassing remarks, but the “dislike” button opens a door to a less positive place to socially interact. Zuckerberg suggested that he didn’t want Facebook to have negativity like this – what he implies is that said negativity would have an impact on how often people used Facebook or IF people used Facebook at all.

If Facebook had a Dislike button, each post would turn into a voting system. With every single post, every single photo, every single video, you’d be asking people to tell you whether or not they like the content.

Without the Dislike button, you’re saying “if you don’t have something nice to say, just say nothing at all.” And if someone does want to say something that isn’t positive – or express sympathy or empathy – they’re going to need to explain why.

Without the Dislike button, Facebook users like you and I do not have to worry about people who give “thumbs down” to content without backing themselves up.

If you ask me, the Dislike button isn’t worth the hassle.


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