Who knew that adding a simple button could be so complicated?
Apparently, it is for Facebook (FB).
In February 2009, the behemoth social media network introduced its “like” button on the site.
According to Facebook’s internal figures, it’s used 4.5 billion times a day for users to like companies, people, teams, television shows, music, films, and just regular posts and photos.
You name it… you can like it.
But what about the opposite emotion?
Not so much.
For years, the absence of a “dislike” button has baffled users.
I mean, if you can “like” something/someone, why can’t you also “dislike” something?
But behold… the winds of innovation are blowing through Facebook…
Users to Facebook: “We Want to Dislike Stuff, Too”
Speaking to an audience at Facebook’s headquarters in California, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company is finally “thinking about” adding a “dislike” button.
Indeed, Zuckerberg says it’s one of the most requested features from users.
The issue, he says, is to make sure it doesn’t become a blind tool for internet idiots to bash people and their posts.
Rather than just being a negative feature, the thinking behind such a button is “so that people can easily express a broader range of emotions.” For example, as a way of conveying sadness or sympathy towards someone/something.
“A lot of times, people share things on Facebook that are sad moments in their lives,” said Zuckerberg. “Often, people tell us that they don’t feel comfortable pressing ‘like’ because that isn’t the appropriate sentiment.”
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Indeed. It’s truly bizarre when you see people “liking” some form of bad news when they could just… get this… type out what they want to say if they want to express sympathy!
I know… it’s a revolutionary idea.
But there are other factors in play here, too…
Emotionally Intelligent Disliking
Some have suggested that Facebook collects data on its users, based on their “liked” posts.
And it’s come in for criticism for “fake likes,” whereby people and companies can receive “likes” and artificially inflate their status, despite not being real.
It’s an issue that Facebook says could stop legitimate companies from using the social network if the data is inaccurate.
The other factor centers on advertisers and revenue (surprise, surprise).
While a “dislike” button would prove useful to companies, as they’d receive immediate negative feedback on particular ideas, proposals, or products, Paul Coggins, CEO of Adludio, says Facebook needs to make sure it implements a “dislike” button intelligently.
Speaking to the BBC, he says, “They need to keep advertisers happy. I would think it’s highly unlikely that they’d come up with a button that says you can ‘dislike’. I think they’ll extend the success of the ‘like’ button, which has been huge. Rather than have a quick yes-no, which is a bit black and white, my guess is that they’ll probably look to do something with a bit more sentiment around it.”
Of course, that would probably involve more than one button, though, which would express a range of emotions.
But isn’t that what life is all about anyway?