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Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook Will Have a 'Dislike' Button, But It's Not What You Think It Is

( [email protected] ) Sep 17, 2015 09:29 AM EDT
Those that use Facebook habitually have probably noticed that unlike some other websites, there isn't really a "Dislike" button.  Mark Zuckerberg has revealed that this is going to change, but not in the way you expect.  The button might not be an actual "Dislike", but it will address something important for Facebook subscribers.
Facebook Screengrab/Mark Zuckerberg

Those that use Facebook habitually have probably noticed that unlike some other websites, there isn't really a "Dislike" button.  Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has revealed that this is going to change, but not in the way you expect.  The button might not be an actual "Dislike", but it will address something important for Facebook subscribers. 

According to the Seattle Times, Zuckerberg spoke at an event at Menlo Park, California headquarters, and acknowledged that the "Like" isn't appropriate for some posts.  After all, most people shouldn't put a "Like" button on announcement of a tragic news event, for example. 

Considering that a lot of social media sites like YouTube have a "Dislike" button, it seems odd that Facebook doesn't have one.  Zuckerberg has said several times in the past that he has avoided the "Dislike" button because it could be used for voting down posts.   This new button type of button is ready to be tested soon, and will be rolled out broadly depending on how it does. 

Yes, there isn't really any confirmation on when this "Dislike" button is coming.  Zuckerberg says that "today is the day that I actually get to say we are working on it".  It is not clear if it will be called a "Dislike" button, and it is not meant to be for things posted that other subscribers want to "hate". 

What this "Dislike" button would be is a way for showing empathy for posts that just seem inappropriate to "Like".  For example, if someone posts that a loved one has died, clicking "Like" on this might send a wrong signal by the other subscriber.  That is, that this subscriber literally likes that the other subscriber's loved one has passed away. 

In other words, it doesn't look like the "Dislike" button will be used by Internet trolls to express how much they hate what is going on.  It will be more like an "empathize" button when news posted on Facebook isn't good, because not everything posted on Facebook is essentially good news. 

This actually makes a lot of sense and is consistent with what Zuckerberg announced at a town hall meeting last December, as he dismissed the idea of a "dislike" button.  "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," Zuckerberg said. "I don't think that's socially very valuable, or great for the community."

Should Zuckerberg decide to put in a literal "Dislike" button, it could change a lot of things.  Not only is it going to enable many Internet trolls, but it could be used as a new kind of metric.  After all, a lot of people bank on getting a certain amount of "Likes" on Facebook, as it shows that people are looking at what you post.  However, does the amount of "Dislikes" or "Hates" truly signify that something is bad?  Probably not, as even something that got a million "Dislikes" is at least getting attention.  As they say in Hollywood: "There's no such thing as bad publicity".  "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," Zuckerberg said. "I don't think that's socially very valuable, or great for the community."