This past week there has been a lot of talk about Facebook introducing a dislike button after the Townhall Q&A at Facebook last Tuesday. It is no surprise that most major news sites chose to highlight the dislike button of the topics that were covered in the Q&A. CNN’s headline read: “Mark Zuckerburg: Facbook working on a ‘Dislike’ button”. Time.com wrote: “Facebook is finally making a dislike button”, likewise bbc.com wrote “’Dislike’ button coming to Facebook, to name a few. Only if you were to click on the articles and read most of them that it would become clear that Facebook will not implement a dislike button. According to the Media Insight Projects, as cited by Washington Post, roughly six out of 10 people only read headlines, which meant that a lot of people got excited or angry by something that is not even happening.
One of the arguments against a dislike button was that in terms of posts that felt weird or awkward to like, you could simply not respond to the post or you could write a comment. The problem with that is that most people post on Facebook to receive some form of response, if everyone were to ignore a sad or tragic post, then that might emphasize that person’s unhappiness or even make them feel unaccepted.
Currently what I see happening in the absence of a dislike button is that people will comment a sad emoji. This is a quick and easy way to express empathy, however, for some it may feel awkward to make the effort to comment on an acquaintance’s post.
Another argument against the dislike button was that it could be used to bully people online. However, judging from what Zuckerberg said at the Townhall Q&A, I sincerely doubt that Facebook would implement something that cyberbullies and trolls could use as a handy tool in their destructive behavior. It would not only go against Facebooks mission of creating a community, it would also activate the wrath of the internet – which is a very scary thing.
Part of me thinks they may implement something along the lines of the feelings/mood you can add to your status updates. However, what I am hoping for is something completely out of the box, unexpected and inspiring that will enable us express empathy without too much effort. Whatever they may come up with, I am certain that it will not be a dislike button.