Facebook is now planning to introduce a new ‘Dislike’ button, or at least something similar. Essentially, the company wants to give its users the ability to ‘express empathy’ towards the victim of tragedies or other similar events that users might not feel appropriate about liking.
“Not every moment is a good moment,” said Mark Zuckerberg, and further added that work has already begun.
In a Q&A session which was held at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, Zuckerberg said that users have asked for a ‘Dislike’ button for many years, and further added that it won’t be just a ‘Dislike’ button as they do not want Facebook turning “into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts.”
He further explains that the new button, testing for which has already begun, is for events which affect society in general such as refugee crisis or when a family member or friend passes away in which case “it might not feel comfortable to Like that post”, and allow users convey their empathy or concern towards the affected person or event. Hence, for such events where friends can express their empathy or concern, Facebook is building a new button considering all these parameters.
Notably, Facebook already has something similar called ‘Recommend’, which websites can use instead of the ‘Like’ button to help people share stories that are sad or tragic. Therefore, the company could be building something around the same idea, though its purpose would be to allow users to express their condolences or concern.
Hence, the upcoming button should be rather different from the down vote buttons on forums such as Reddit, as up vote and down vote buttons are exact opposites. Upvoting gives the post more attention, while down votes affect the popularity of posts in a negative way, which is exactly what Facebook does not want.
How this would affect the popularity of the social network, is kind of hard to decipher at this point. As we all know, Facebook is a place for fun where users can share their weekend experiences or play games, hence a ‘Dislike’ button could turn Facebook into a sadder place, which might be turn-off for certain users. Though, on the flip side, Facebook could also turn out to be a place where users can express their feelings about things that affect humans on a general level, and further boost the popularity of Facebook.