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Facebook Plans to Add “Dislike” Button (well, sort of)

18 September 2015

Have you ever read a friend’s Facebook post and were unsure of how to respond? Perhaps they mentioned that their honeymoon flight was cancelled, or they shared an image of a newly formed cast on their foot after an impromptu basketball pick-up game went awry. Well, if you were looking to gently apply your fingertip to a “dislike” button – it looks as though you might be in luck.

Accordingly to CNBC, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced that the company is working on a new feature to allow users to “express empathy.” It isn’t necessarily a “dislike” option, but it would give users an option to quickly express an emotion other than the infamous “thumbs up” symbol. It seems simple enough, but many people are already voicing concerns – both users and advertisers. Some of the issues that have already raised possible concerns include items such as cyberbullying and trolling, while advertisers fret about the traffic that they will have to monitor.

Despite these concerns, there are some interesting aspects to this addition. For example, since Facebook uses an algorithm to devise the content of your news feed based on your activity and engagement, the system may have a misconception about issues/posts that you do, in fact, care about. If you were to post about something somber and others were afraid to “like” it because it might give the wrong impression, Facebook may be incorrectly categorizing the information as uninteresting because there is no activity. With the addition of this new “dislike” product, Facebook believes it will have a better idea of how to fine-tune distribution to its’ users.

This type of feature has been requested since 2009, and it will be interesting to see how Facebook develops this and how it’s ultimately named. Maybe a “sorry” or an “I’ve read this” button? What do you think it should be called? How should it be able to be used? Do you have additional concerns about this feedback mechanism? We would “like” to hear what you think.