Facebook is finally giving us a ‘dislike’ button – but it’s not quite as simple as you might think

There could soon be an official way to express your negative or empathetic feelings on social media with just the click of a button

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So Facebook is FINALLY making a dislike button…

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Yep. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced during a Q&A on Tuesday that the social media service is working on a button that will allow users to express negative emotions.

“People have asked about the dislike button for many years. Probably hundreds of people have asked about this,” he said, adding: “It’s important to give people more options than just like.”

Does Facebook really need a dislike button? 

This is debatable. We are already quite good at being mean, miserly and miserable on social media. It would seem the world is perfectly capable of expressing dislike – extreme and otherwise – on Facebook without an official button for it. Then again, we can also be quite lazy so just being able to click a button might at least mean fewer negative comments.

And won’t people just use it to troll each other? 

There’s potential for a ‘dislike’ button to be used in that way. You know that warm glow you get when 31 of your friends and acquaintances ‘like’ your smug holiday snap/new relationship/’I’ve just been promoted!’ status? It could easily be sullied by a few mean spirited ‘dislikes’…

So why are they introducing one? 

A quick flick through my news feed and you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise, but Facebook isn’t just for showing off about how seemingly perfect your life is. People announce deaths, remember loved ones, share shocking or upsetting news stories, raise awareness about distressing causes and, also, complain about things like dropping their iPhones down the loo. All posts where the traditional ‘like’ button doesn’t feel like a socially acceptable response. 

In fact, rather than the dislike button being a way to troll or ‘down vote’ someone else’s post, Zuckerberg says they want it to be a way for users to express empathy. “Not every moment is a good moment,” Zuckerberg said. “If you are sharing something that is sad, whether it’s something in current events, like the refugee crisis that touches you, or if a family member passed away, then it may not feel comfortable to ‘like’ that post.”

Fair enough. So when will we see the dislike button appear on our feeds? 

Zuckerberg says that Facebook are “working on it” and are “very close to shipping a test” of the new button.

Will it be a ‘thumbs down’ icon?

It’s looking unlikely. This isn’t just a simple reverse of the iconic ‘like’ button. It’s been “surprisingly complicated” to get the button right, says Zuckerberg, so we are expecting something a little more sophisticated than this: ? 

Will it make Facebook an even less friendly place?

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It’s not the social media giant’s aim. But really we’ll have to wait and see…  


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