This week my news feed has been full of stories about Facebook’s rumoured dislike button finally becoming an option. Speaking at the company’s latest Town Hall Q and A session, held at Facebook HQ in California, Mark Zuckerberg announced they were looking at allowing users to express their feelings about a post that isn’t necessarily positive, using another option rather than simply “liking” it.
“Not every moment is a good moment. If you share something that’s sad, like a refugee crisis that touches you or a family member passes away, it may not be comfortable to like that post… I do think it’s important to give people more options than liking it.” Zuckerberg said.
However back in December last year, Zuckerberg also said that they were conscious a dislike button may provoke voting mechanisms and possibly lead to trolling. So we are not 100% clear if the button will simply be a thumbs down or some kind of icon that symbolises empathy and concern. There is a risk that a dislike button could completely change the positivity within Facebook and obscure its purpose.
Let’s face it. if you had the option to dislike those really annoying facebook statuses, would you?
I also think a dislike button could encourage negative sentiment when it comes to brand pages and fan groups. As soon as a customer dislikes something, the conversation will be opened up to why so? and what can we do about it?. This means community managers will need to pay more attention and be ready to react if a number of dislikes are apparent on one post.
I reached out to a couple of social media experts to get their opinion.
Donna Moritz from Socially Sorted says;
“The more I think about it a “dislike button” is just asking for trouble: “I prefer the idea of an “empathy button” or a simple “hug” or “heart” to express compassion when a story or post is sad. But I think that if a dislike button it widely available on every post, it wouldn’t take long for it to be used in a negative way. I wonder if it would eventually end up just like YouTube’s like/dislike feature, with the negativity leaking into the comments. I guess we won’t know until they experiment.. and if all else fails use an emoticon!”
Madalyn Sklar, Social Media Power Influencer in Houston, says;
“I think we need more options to express ourselves aside from the singular “like” button. However a “dislike” button could cause rampant negativity throughout the Facebook platform. I think that will be a major turnoff for lots of people once it’s in place. It will be interesting to see the outcome from Facebook’s decision.”
It’s apparent that we all agree, something new is needed to enable us to express our opinions on Facebook but at the same time it comes with a risk. Users of the most popular social media site could start to feel uneasy and not only dislike the idea but start DISLIKING Facebook and its ways altogether.
It will be interesting to see what happens next and what other changes are install for Facebook this year.