News | 1/10/2015

Hug or Hate? The Facebook Dislike Button.

Posted by Lawrence Greenlee

Facebook announced last week that the “dislike” button is currently under development. My first thought when I heard this news was to question why they have made it easier to embrace online negativity. Unlike the social app Yik Yak, which allows you to anonymously vote up or down on strangers’ posts in your area, Facebook will show you which ‘friends’ don’t like what you’re posting- a lot harsher when your ratio of dislikes to likes on your new profile picture is 5:1.

But what does this mean for online marketing? Will Facebook Ads have the dislike button? If so will the proportion of likes to dislikes effect how often the ad is seen. On the other hand it could give brands more of an insight to what their audience wants and how things are posted. Even more so, having the post ‘dislikes’ could become popular. I’m sure you are all aware of how brands like Marmite and Go Compare have managed to spin negative reactions into positives.

From what Zuckerberg has said, the dislike button shouldn’t be a problem; ‘we don’t want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts… What people really want is to be able to express empathy.’ So really this button should be used to show support when a friend’s family member dies or when an international crisis has happened like the earthquake in Nepal in April.

This all seems a little strange to me. Why is this new button which is supposed to be used to express empathy been given such a negative name? The internet is full of online haters and this dislike button is giving them the power to troll posts at the click of a button. The Telegraph don’t seem too impressed with this new button either ‘we’re not going to solve the refugee crisis or tackle climate change by clicking the empathy button as we scroll down our wall during lunch break.’ In fact they even created a poll to see how many people would prefer a ‘hug’ button rather than a ‘dislike’. It’s pretty shocking that only 40% think that this is a better idea.

All in all we we’re all a little bit confused about this new button, and when Facebook released this statement explaining how posts will be deleted things didn’t become any clearer. “We realised that by combining the two functions, reporting and the existence of a dislike button, that not only could we streamline the removal of objectionable material from Facebook but we could also achieve massive cost savings as the amount of employees needed to monitor and process reports was entirely eliminated.”

So what is it Mark? A sympathy button or a dislike button which can help eliminate unwanted content.

Stay tuned!