The 'Dislike' Button: Don't Go There, Facebook Inc (FB)

If Mark Zuckerberg wants to add buttons to Facebook Inc, he should look beyond 'dislike'

Dec 17, 2014 at 1:30 PM
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When I first heard that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg was considering a "dislike" button, my first thought was: "Oh no." As if the social media site hasn't sufficiently degenerated into one giant shouting match, this new feature could be the equivalent of pouring fuel onto the proverbial fire.

Now, Zuckerberg clarified that the "dislike" button's purpose wasn't to make put-downs easier. "A lot of times people share things on Facebook that are sad moments in their lives. Often people tell us that they don't feel comfortable pressing 'like' because 'like' isn't the appropriate sentiment," the 30-year-old billionaire explained. "Some people have asked for a dislike button because they want to say, 'That thing isn't good.' That's not something that we think is good for the world."

But you know what they say: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. So, no, I don't see this decision -- if it's made -- ending well. Too many people (read: trolls) would abuse the "dislike" button, and too many people couldn't handle the blowback for their unpopular views.

That said, I've taken it upon myself to provide a list of potential non-ego-bruising alternatives (you're welcome, Mark). So, here goes:

  • "Respectfully disagree": Basically, "you're wrong … but please don't hate me."

  • "Concerned": This speaks to Zuckerberg's scenario above. Yes, it's weird to click "like" when someone's mother is in the hospital, but it's also weird to click "dislike." Actually, it's weird that our way of showing empathy these days is through pressing a button. Pick up the phone or send a card, people.

  • "Your opinion is valuable": Because everyone's opinion is valuable, right? This button essentially says nothing, but could provide a self-esteem boost.

  • "I don't know": For those times when you disagree, but don't have the gumption to say so.
  • "Please clarify": When someone's post or response to a post is utterly unintelligible or passive-aggressive, but you fear coming across as mean-spirited by appealing to rules of grammar and/or brute facts.

The list could go on, but you get my point. All sorts of buttons could be implemented to help FB users succinctly express their full range of emotions.

But, frankly, none of the above really does the trick for me. So I've come up with yet another list to reflect my own typical reactions to FB posts.

  • "Stop complimenting yourself": For those "friends" who specialize in shameless self-promotion.

  • "Stating the obvious": No description necessary.

  • "Mob mentality": Just because 100 people have said something doesn't mean you need to say it. Actually, please don't.

  • "Your life is better than mine": To help that extremely successful friend know how happy you are for his/her fortunes, popularity, good looks, and non-stop travels.

In conclusion, I think Zuckerberg's really onto something. Additional buttons could be a good thing -- a way to accurately and succinctly convey our sentiments, without wading into the sometimes dangerous and often inane world of the "comments" section.

But my reaction to the "dislike" button remains the same. I dislike it.


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