It has been long rumored that Facebook is working on a “dislike” button. Well, according to Mark Zuckerburg, they are. But how would this functionality be used? If you see a post you don’t like, maybe an opposing political statement or just teasing a friend’s new selfie, you could “dislike” it. But Mr. Z had something else in mind. He mentioned situations of someone’s passing or the recent Syrian crisis, and that users want the ability to express empathy. When you see a post about someone in the hospital, you want to show you care and don’t have the words to express, but “liking” doesn’t seem like an appropriate action.
If the “dislike” button were to function in the literal manner, would brands see thumb-downs on their posts made by trolls? This seems like the ultimate internet-troll feeding ground. If this were the case, and people could “thumbs-down” the McDonald’s CEO’s post about declining Burger King’s charity McWhopper, would this affect Facebook’s algorithm and lower reach?
I think Facebook knows a way to “dislike” would be a bad idea. Reporting and ignoring posts is enough to affect their algorithm, and Mark himself said he wants to give users the ability to “express empathy”. I would say that using the term “dislike” was a blanket way to explain the new tool, but this won’t function like it does on YouTube. It may be just an emotional function that doesn’t affect Facebook’s bottom line, much like the “Poke”.
It would be interesting to see how this “dislike” tool rolls out and how brands can leverage this. Stay tuned to us here at Tech Critic – we’ll have a detailed analysis as soon as we can.