A Time to Dislike

Ever have that sensation to dislike a Facebook post? Well, soon, you can.  After years of  member requests, Facebook is finally working on a Dislike button, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during a town hall meeting on Tuesday at the company’s California headquarters. However, the CEO also stated it wouldn’t be a way for users to “downvote” posts; instead it would let users express other emotions aside from the Like button. According to reports, the company held off on a Dislike button to avoid becoming a Reddit-style system that encouraged upvoting and downvoting. However, Zuckerburg is confident, users will be satisfied with the new system.

“People have asked about the ‘dislike’ button for many years, and probably hundreds of people have asked about this, and today is a special day because today is the day that I actually get to say we are working on it, and are very close to shipping a test of it,” Zuckerberg said. What they really want is the ability to express empathy. Not every moment is a good moment,” he said.

The ability to dislike a post will be somewhat of a shift for Facebook’s positive persona it has adopted with features like Moments, which serves up old, happy memories in a user’s time line.

Regardless of its intent, a Dislike button would have a dramatic effect on the service, especially considering Facebook is by far the the largest driver of traffic to news publications. When a Dislike button becomes a reality, companies, publications and users may have to seriously consider the strategy of what they post.

Speaking at Q&A in December, Zuckerberg acknowledged this, stating that a Dislike button is a tricky proposition.

“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,” he said at the time. “Everyone feels like they can just push the Like button, and that’s an important way to sympathize or empathize with someone,” Zuckerberg said “But there are times when you may want the simplicity of a one-click response but a “like” doesn’t feel appropriate.”