Does a 2014 patent reveal Facebook's true plans for its upcoming dislike button?
Earlier this week, Mark Zuckerberg announced something few though would actually ever happen – Facebook is currently working on a dislike button. For years, Facebook has rebuked the idea of a dislike button, and the company has always said the same thing – it didn’t want to bring that sort of negativity to the site. Zuckerberg has also said he didn’t want to institute a reddit-like upvote/downvote system. For those reason, we never expected a dislike button to materialize.
And it probably won't – at least in the way some are projecting. Facebook isn't going to institute a straight up "dislike" button for the reasons above. Facebook doesn’t want to scare people away. Making people scared to post for fear of having their feelings hurt isn’t exactly good for business.
Instead, Facebook wants to build something that allows users to express empathy. Zuckerberg said this himself at a recent Q&A session.
"You know, not every moment is a good moment, right? And 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 past away, then it might not feel comfortable to Like that post. But your friends and people want to be able to express that they understand and that they relate to you," he said.
Maybe in the future, you'll just get to click a cry face emoji when someone's dog dies.
Facebook filed a patent (via The Next Web) in December of 2014 for "a social networking system user may associate an emoji representing the users' emotional reaction with a content item presented by the social networking system."
If you're a Slack or Path user, this may sound familiar.
Facebook already includes emoji in its status updates – think when you say you're "feeling excited" or "feeling happy". But now it looks like emoji could be the next News Feed ranking signal.
Image via Wicker Paradise, Flickr Creative Commons