The world of social media is on fire with rumors of Facebook recently announcing a “dislike button”. There has been a lot of chatter about what the button will feature, what it might look like, and what it might mean to casual users.
But it won’t be a “dislike” button at all. It will be something much more than that.
And while no one is quite sure what it will be, one thing is certain: the new feature will change the way you use Facebook.
Exactly What Zuckerberg Said
After years of requests, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during a public Q&A at Facebook’s California headquarters that it will create an alternative to the “Like” button, a button that will provide users another way of expressing their emotions.
There have been many reports that Facebook will simply create a “dislike” button and turn the social site into a forum, one like Reddit in which you can upvote or downvote a post.
— Shay Meinecke (@ShayMeinecke) September 19, 2015
That’s exactly what Zuckerberg said Facebook won’t be doing.
“We didn’t want to just build a Dislike button because we don’t want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts. That doesn’t seem like the kind of community we want to create.” — Mark Zuckerberg
Zuckerberg later commented that he wants Facebook users to be able to show empathy, not dislike.
What Does This Mean For Tragedies?
This means that when a person posts a tragedy or death in the family, Facebook wants you to be able to respond more accurately. Currently, the only way to interact with a post is to “Like” it or make a comment.
Facebook wants to create a button that is much more than a “Dislike” button, something that shows you understand or relate to what someone has posted:
“People aren’t looking for an ability to downvote other people’s posts. What they really want is to be able to express empathy. 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 passed away, then it might not feel comfortable to “Like” that post.” — Mark Zuckerberg
What About Trolling?
It’s possible that a “dislike” button could be a force for trolling, and Zuckerberg’s comments suggest Facebook will do everything to prevent that type of community.
In a Q&A in 2014, Zuckerberg said, “Some people have asked for a dislike button before. They want to be able to say that a thing isn’t good…that’s not something that we think is good for the world.”
It can only be assumed that Zuckerberg will do everything in his power to prevent a button that is bad for the community.
What You Might Actually Expect
Zuckerberg mentioned that Facebook is currently working on the new feature, and admitted that creating such a feature is more difficult than it might appear:
“We have been working on this for a while. It’s surprisingly complicated to make an interaction that you want to be that simple. We have an idea that we think we’re going to be ready to test soon. And depending on how it does, we’ll roll it out more broadly.” — Mark Zuckerberg
It’s possible that Facebook will create a button that simply says “sorry” or provides a gesture similar to a hug or a heart.
No one is entirely sure what it will like look, but it’s more than likely that the button will be used not only to express empathy, but also be good for business.
The Bigger Picture: More Data
When and if Facebook creates this “empathy” button, it will allow users to better relate to a person’s post, which, in turn, also allows marketers and statisticians to better understand reactions.
This wider display of interaction can help the casual user better respond to a post, and it could also allow businesses to better promote and market their products and services.
Like Apple, dislike Android? You might see more ads related to Apple. Like Coke, dislike Pepsi? Yeah, you might be seeing more Coke ads.
A whole new world of stats could become available to Faceboook, meaning they could understand more of what we like and don’t like, which is always good for business.
What This All Means
Zuckerberg mentioned that he wanted to create a button that is good for the Facebook community. He said repeatedly in the past that he wants nothing to do with a button that creates a negative community, and it’s more than likely that he’ll stick to his comments.
However, a button that can be used to better market products and services might seem appealing to Zuckerberg, as it appears that Facebook is doing more to create a profit and understand their users better.
What Do You Think?
Are you happy that Facebook might have a “dislike” button or some sort of way or expressing empathy?
Are you fine knowing that Facebook might know more about what you like and don’t like? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.