September 17, 2015

Thumbs Up for a “Dislike” Button on Facebook?


Facebookers have been requesting a “dislike” button for years.

On Friday, Mark Zuckerburg announced that Facebook is working on a button that lets you express emotions beyond the iconic thumbs up.

For years Facebook resisted requests for a “dislike” button, fearing it would create “seeds of discontent” on the social media site.

While my first response to the idea of a “dislike” button was, “yes! I want one!” the more I weighed it out and discussed with others, the more I see how the “dislike” button could just become a tool for spreading negativity, bullying and haterade.

Personally, I would use a “dislike” for posts about horrible news stories or negative posts (e.g. “Man beats dog and leaves for dead.” “My girlfriend cheated on me.” “I just tripped and fell on my face.”)

Crappy news or stories would get dislikes from me—not someone’s awesome news just because I had a twinge of envy. I wouldn’t be “disliking” all over my friends positive stuff because I was having a sh*tty day, year or life. But that’s just me.

Many people I spoke to pointed out that there is enough negativity in the world, why give the naysayers a tool to spread their naysaying? As I considered this point, I saw the depth behind it. We all know that many people are bolder online than in person, so what would stop them from hating all over everything positive?

Of course, personally, I would delete anyone on my friends list that behaved that way, but again, that’s just me.

The concern is for those who may be less likely to stand up for themselves—those whom it takes an immense amount of courage just to post a picture or something they wrote. Allowing people who have a bullying nature to “dislike” would be counterproductive to all involved and open up an avenue for bullying. Someone who would leave “go kill yourself” as a comment would surely be disliking all over Facebook.

Who needs that? Not our society!

Recently, Zuckerburg has softened his stance on allowing something other than the “like” button to allow you to express emotions beyond the iconic thumbs up. He agrees that sometimes “like” doesn’t fit certain updates or situations, such as a crisis or death.

Some people have asked for a dislike button because they want 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,” Zuckerberg said. Instead he revealed they are working on a button that allows users to sympathize or empathize without straight out “dislike.”

Dr. Andrea Forte, a Drexel University professor who studies social media, said in an email“they may use a “dislike” button to express some negative emotions, like frustration with ads popping up in their feeds, but I doubt it will cause them to start wantonly disliking pictures of their friends’ babies, dogs, cats and cooking experiments. I suspect it will mainly be used to express mild disapproval, or to express solidarity when someone posts about a negative event like a death or a loss.”

I guess we will never know.


Relephant Read:

The Heartwarming Thing that Happened when I Bereaved my Friend on Facebook.


Author: Lindsay Carricarte

Editor: Toby Israel

Image: Flickr/Goiabaera


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