As we’ve touched on before, you’re never going to get a true ‘dislike’ button. There are a lot of reasons why you’re never going to get one, despite much of the Facebook-using public clamoring for one for quite some time. For one, you have to realize that the ‘like’ button is not there for you. It wasn’t made for you. It was made for advertising purposes.
Also, the whole idea of “disliking” is messy. It’s hateful in most of its applications. Sure, it has its non-spiteful uses (I dislike the fact that you have a sore throat aww), but you know that a true dislike button would mostly be used to dump all over people’s thoughts, life events, and photographic expressions.
Sure, Tim’s guacamole really does like like shit – but do we really need to be able to ‘dislike’ it?
In his latest Facebook Q&A, Zuckerberg reiterated this, once again shooting down the idea. But he did go in to some interesting details, some of which suggest that the company is at least thinking about expanding the palette of emotional responses beyond the ‘like’.
Here are Zuckerberg’s comments on the idea of a dislike button (via TechCrunch):
You know we’re thinking about it, on the Dislike button. It’s an interesting question, right, because there are two things that it can mean. And we’re considering and talking about doing one and not the other. So the one that we don’t want to do: The Like button is really valuable because it’s a way for you to very quickly express a positive emotion or sentiment when someone puts themselves out there and shares something. And, you know, some people have asked for a Dislike button because they want to be able to say ‘That thing isn’t good’. And that’s not something that we think is good for the world. So we’re not going to build that. I don’t think there needs to be a voting mechanism about whether posts are good or bad. I don’t think that’s socially very valuable or good for the community to help people share the important moments in their lives.
But the thing that I think is very valuable is there are more sentiments that people want to express than positivity or that they Like something. You know a lot of times people share things on Facebook that are sad moments in their lives, or are tough cultural or social things and often people tell us that they don’t feel comfortable press Like because Like isn’t the appropriate sentiment when someone lost a loved one or is talking about a very difficult issue.
So one of the things that we’ve had some dialogue about internally and that we’ve thought about for quite a while is what’s the right way to make it so people can easily express a broader range of emotions to empathize or to express surprise or laughter or any of these things. And you know you can always just comment, right, so it’s not like there isn’t a way to do that today, and a lot of people are commenting on posts all the time. But there’s something that’s just so simple about the Like button. You know if you’re commenting, a lot of the time you feel like you have to have something witty to say or add to the conversation.
But everyone feels like they can just press the Like button and that’s an important way to sympathize or empathize with someone in an important moment that put themselves out there to share. And giving people the power to do that in more ways with more emotions would be powerful, but we need to figure out the right way to do it so it ends up being a force for good, not a force for bad and demeaning the posts that people are putting out there. So that’s an important thing. We don’t have anything that’s coming out soon but it’s an important area of discussion.
TL;DR – The ability to dislike someone’s shitty post just because it’s shitty? Not coming. The ability to express sympathy over someone’s dead grandma with a single button that is more emotionally precise than the sometimes awful bluntness of the ‘like’? That’s a possibility.
Image via zeevveez, Flickr Creative Commons