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For a long time, many Facebook users have suggested that the social media giant should have a Dislike button. Facebook has been reluctant, however, stating that such a feature might be used inappropriately but it appears to have finally caved in to the demands by its users.
At its monthly Q&A held at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, revealed that the company is working on a Dislike button or something similar to it and it will ship a test of it soon.
“If you’re expressing something sad, it may not feel comfortable to ‘Like’ that post, but your friends and people want to be able to express that they understand, that they relate to you,” Zuckerberg during the Q&A.
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Facebook is not building a Dislike per say but something to express empathy rather than a button that can be used as a bullying and hating mechanism. Zuckerberg explained that the company’s reluctance to build a Dislike button is because the platform does not want to have a system where users down vote other users.
The Like button, up until now, has catered to 1.5 billion users’ feelings about a post on Facebook. There is no doubt that is not sufficient and this is what the Dislike or the other variations of it will offer. Though there is an understanding amongst users that liking a post about Boko Haram attacking a village in Northern Nigeria does not mean that a user approves of the attack but it means sympathy or disapproval, limiting it to just the Like button has been a major thorn in the Facebook experience.
A Dislike button, or whatever it gets called, will enable users to express solidarity when another user writes a negative status or shares negative news.
However a Dislike button is not without its limitations, including expressing the right emotions to the simple news of someone’s death. The Like button is definitely not appropriate but a Dislike button does not quite express empathy either.
It is for this reason that Facebook might explore a button that expresses empathy, support, solidarity etc and not a Dislike button.
If the company builds a direct opposite of the Like button it might find itself with the same problems it has with the Like button, that the Dislike button does not capture the right users’ emotions about a status or a post.