Like It or Dislike It? Facebook Working on "Dislike Button"

By Elana Goodwin on September 20, 2015

On September 15, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced during a Q&A session that Facebook is currently working on a “Dislike” button.

“People have asked about the dislike button for many years,” Zuckerberg said. “Today is a special day because today is the day I can say we’re working on it and shipping it.”

Photo Credit: abcnews.go.com

The “Like” button, which first appeared on Facebook in 2007, is denoted by a thumbs up symbol, though the “Dislike” button may not necessarily be a thumbs down. In fact, there’s already discussion over whether the button is needed, what kind of impact it will have on the social media site, and even about whether it will really be a “Dislike” button at all.

Facebook users have been clamoring for a “Dislike” button for years now, but it seems like now that they may get it, people are considering the ramifications of the feature. After the announcement, Facebook users went on Zuckerberg’s Facebook page to talk about the idea, and many wrote they had no interest in seeing a “Dislike” button added to the site.

Elsewhere on the internet, like YouTube and Reddit, you have the ability to immediately like and dislike or upvote and downvote a post, in addition to being able to comment on a video or posting. This isn’t always a good thing, and people are worried that if Facebook adds a “Dislike” button, it will promote negativity and may even lead to cyberbullying.

Those are some of the reasons that Facebook didn’t originally offer a way to dislike something — the social network didn’t want to have a Reddit-style system since that wasn’t the real purpose of the site – and also they didn’t want the ability to “Dislike” to lead to disrespecting or attacking others on the site.

However, from what Zuckerberg has said about the development of this feature, the “Dislike” button may not really be that at all. Rather than showing your aversion to something, the tool Facebook is working on may be more of an “Acknowledgement” or “Empathy” button, for times when “Liking” something isn’t the appropriate response.

“Not every moment is a good moment,” Zuckerberg said. “Some people have asked for a dislike button because they want to be able to say ‘that thing isn’t good,’ and we’re not going to do that … I don’t think that’s socially very valuable, or great for the community.”

Photo Credit: mashable.com

For example, when someone posts about a death or a natural disaster, it’s not quite fitting to “Like” the post, and some may not want to comment on the matter. Right now, Facebook users don’t have any other option but to “Like” something if they want to let someone know they saw their post and are thinking of them, even if they may not exactly “Like” whatever the person is sharing with the world.

Facebook is focused on allowing people to interact and engage with each other, and it’s highly unlikely the site will just offer a “Dislike” right next to the “Like” button on posts and other actions on the social network. The reason for this so-called “Dislike” button isn’t about negativity, it’s about offering users a way to connect with each other in a more sincere way. It will also give the content a higher probability of being seen as it competes with posts that get a lot of “Likes” since Facebook’s News Feed algorithm is biased towards showing content that’s received lots of thumbs up.

Facebook has been working on the feature for a while now, and though it seems like an uncomplicated concept, the thought behind it and the exact idea of what it will be, the symbol that will denote it, and what it’s meant to do, have made the execution of the tool more complex.

In fact, many have already been speculating about what the icon for this new feature will be and making suggestions.

Some ideas that have been offered include an “Ear” button, which would allow users to tell others that they hear them and doesn’t hold negative or positive connotations, and two hands clasped in the shape of a heart or a hand holding a heart, which would convey empathy, among others.

No specific date has been announced yet as far as when whatever this “Dislike” button ends up being will appear on Facebook, but it’s already got a lot of people talking, and users seem to be split about whether they “Like” this idea or would thumbs down it if they could.

By Elana Goodwin

Uloop Writer
I am currently serving as the Director/Managing Editor for Uloop News. I've been part of the Uloop family since 2013 and in my current role, I recruit writers, edit articles, manage interns, and lead our National Team, among other duties. When I'm not writing or editing, I love being outside, reading, and photography! I have a Bachelor's degree in English with a double-minor in Sociology and Criminology & Criminal Justice from The Ohio State University. If you have questions or just want to chat, don't hesitate to reach out! Email me at elana@uloop.com.

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