Finally Facebook dislike button is going to be a part of the world’s number one social networking site. I know there are people gleefully rubbing their hands in anticipation. Just think about all the thumbs down one could give in a single day to express how we really feel. Facebook dislike button is certainly going to be a powerful tool in the hands of all sorts of people, from the cranky mischief makers to just any plain Joe having a bad day and too distracted to do anything important.
Announcing the Facebook dislike button during a question and answer session at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, the company’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg said the company had being working on it for a while now because people have being requesting for a feature like that for a long time. According to him,
‘People have asked about the `dislike’ button for many years. Today is the day I actually get to say we are working on it’
So for clarification, the Facebook dislike button is still in the conceptual stage. Meaning, we are going to get it soon, but not just immediately. And to further put a dampener in all those internet pranksters just waiting to hurt people with the Facebook dislike button, Zuckerberg had this to say,
‘Some people have asked for a dislike button because they want to be able to say ‘that thing isn’t good, and we are not going to do that, I don’ the think that’s socially very valuable, or great for the community.’
In other words the Facebook dislike button is not really a dislike button as thought of as first. So what actually is the Facebook dislike button?
Hear Zuckerberg trying to break it down for the audience.
‘It is not clear that it would actually be called a dislike button. The tool wouldn’t be for expressing disdain for posts. Instead it would be for showing empathy for posts that seem inappropriate to ‘like,’ such as news of natural disaster or loved ones dying.’
I guess for want of a better phrase for it, an ’empathy button‘ should be the real name of the Facebook dislike button. This makes a whole lot of sense to me. Because a ‘dislike’ only button won’t actually convey our real feelings when we disliked a post. For example, if I click on the Facebook dislike button to a post about a fatal car crash, does that mean I disliked the fact that the accident happened in the first place or I disliked the fact that the news was posted on Facebook? Or even the bizarre fact that perhaps you disliked the people that died in the accident? Put simply, a Facebook dislike button would be very ambiguous and downright confusing. Open to a lot of misleading conclusions about our intent.
On the other hand, an ’empathy’ button makes more sense if it conveys our real feelings to what was posted. A version of how this would work is the ‘recommend‘ feature that Facebook already has. This works simply by recommending a particular story or post to friends who feel the same way about the post.
No matter the final name of the ‘Facebook dislike button’ it needs to be completely unambiguous. This will just simply eliminate the confusion that can happen with a button that indicates for instance a ‘thumbs down.’ one thing I am certain about is this: people would still find new and novel ways to use whatever final iteration of the ‘Facebook dislike button’ to hurts others. For these set of Internet netizens, you can be sure they are still rubbing their hands gleefully and waiting.