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Leila Badyari

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The Facebook ‘Dislike’ button – To like or not to like?

on September 23, 2015

“Not every moment is a good moment” said Mark Zuckerberg at a Q&A at the Facebook headquarters on Tuesday, 15th September. The topic of discussion was the much debated Facebook ‘Dislike’ button. “I think that people have asked about the ‘Dislike’ button for many years,” Zuckerberg said. “Today is a special day because today is the day I can say we’re working on it and shipping it.”

This initial discussion has led to a lot of subsequent speculation about the purpose and impact of this button. Much like the controversy surrounding the introduction of the ‘like button’ in 2009, this current proposal by Facebook is receiving a significant amount of attention. While Mark Zuckerberg has been quick to explain that the button will serve to help people express empathy, social media moguls around the world have been thrown into a frenzy! Reactions range from subtle to outright silly – with some going so far as to name 15th September as ‘National Dislike day’. A number of people have written about the negative impact this move will have across social media- not only will it encourage hostility, but some suggest it might breed evil.

It’s no secret that social media is sometimes used as a battle ground for social causes, or personal differences; often leading to unpleasant situations that quickly spiral out of control. Many see the ‘Dislike’ button as additional armour for people who have an obsessive tendency to ‘hate’. We’re all familiar with the phrase ‘haters gonna hate’. The question is, will this new Facebook feature act as an enabler to the ‘haters’?

Facebook ‘Dislike’ button – for those disappointing or disturbing posts

Facebook 'Dislike' Button

According to Mark Zuckerberg, the ‘Dislike’ button is in no way intended to fuel people who have a venomous agenda, “Instead, it will be for times when clicking “like” on “sad” posts felt insensitive.” This sounds like a reasonable explanation. Think about it…there are often times when you come across a post that is deeply moving or disturbing. You find yourself in a position where you want to either sympathize or express anger towards the sentiment expressed. In these instances the ‘like button’ does not adequately sum up your emotions. The proposed ‘Dislike’ button, which some are suggesting should be called the ‘sympathize’ or ‘sad’ button, will allow you to express your displeasure, pain or frustration with a simple click.

In the world of social media, expression is paramount – conversations have transitioned from telephone calls and e-mails to social media platforms. Facebook is undeniably one of the largest arenas for unfiltered self-expression.  The ‘Dislike’ button can be viewed as an addition to this ever-evolving social medium. How it will impact personal and business accounts on Facebook remains to be seen. So far the exact form this button will take is still up in the air.

For a long time Facebook avoided building a ‘Dislike’ button for fear of encouraging rampant negativity.  “That isn’t what we’re here to build in the world,” Zuckerberg said.

“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,” he further added. “I don’t think that’s socially very valuable, or great for the community.”

In light of his statement, it’s quite evident that the ‘Dislike’ button is not intended to spread hate or animosity, rather it is aimed at increasing the range of emotions you can express via Facebook.

 

Posted in: Facebook

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