Sunday, February 28, 2021

Facebook Dislike icon long overdue

How often have you wanted to acknowledge a sad post on facebook without actually commenting on the subject? For some people, hitting the ‘Like’ icon seems to cut it, while for the rest of us it just does not seem to communicate the right message. There is just something disturbing and creepy about ‘liking’ somebody else’s grief. It only makes sense to have a ‘Dislike’ icon next to the ‘Like’ for users to communicate their true feelings. That way they can acknowledge the statement without commenting and subjecting themselves to endless notifications about other people’s sentiments.

This is perhaps why recent reports that founder Mark Zuckerberg hinted at the possibility of introducing the icon are most welcome. “Not every moment is a good moment, and if you are sharing something that is sad, whether it’s something in current events, like the refugees crisis that touches you or if a family member passed away, then it may not feel comfortable to like that post,” Zuckerberg was quoted as having said. He was said to have announced in September that his company was working on a button that expresses negative emotions saying it is important to give people more options than just like. “People have asked about the dislike button for many years and we have finally heard you and we’re working on this and we will deliver.” 

It was not the first time the young billionaire owner of the social network had touched on the issue of the dislike button. Zuckerberg has in the past stated that the company would not come up with an icon that gives Facebookers an opportunity to disapprove of one another’s posts. He was quoted at the time as having said Facebook was exploring ways to allow users to express sentiments like surprise, laughter, or empathy. The company has for a long time now resisted creating a ‘Dislike’ button as a companion to its ‘Like’ button, fearing it would sow seeds of discontent on the social networking site. “Some people have asked for a dislike button because they want to say, ‘That thing isn’t good’ and that is not something that we think is good for the world. So we’re not going to build that,” Zuckerberg had said in the past.

It was more or less the same thing he said in September that what the company really wants is HYPERLINK “http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2015/09/15/facebook-plans-a-dislike-button-but-only-for-empathy-zuckerberg-says/” \t “_blank”an ability to express empathy. “If you’re expressing something sad … it may not feel comfortable to ‘like’ that post, but your friends and people want to be able to express that they understand.” Should Facebook go ahead and come up with the icon it remains to be seen if it will be in the form of a ‘thumb-down’ or different. But, of course, having a ‘Dislike’ button comes with its own consequences. Nobody would want to be given a ‘thumbs-down’ on their content like own pictures, or posts that do not necessarily express grief. 

“I personally don’t think the Dislike icon will be a good idea especially in my home country (USA) where cyber bulling is so common,” says Madeline Hauenstein. She says although it may be introduced with good intentions it will end up being used to abuse fellow Facebookers. Facebook introduced the “Like” back in 2009. It is still not clear when the much anticipated dislike icon will be introduced. Zuckerberg’s company, which also owns WhatsApp, recently made changes to mobile messaging application by introducing blue-ticks that indicate the receiver has read a message. There have been rumours that they may also make it possible for friends to see who their friends are chatting to on WhatsApp.

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