• Christian Michaels

Should Brands be Worried About a ‘Dislike’ Button on Facebook?

Unless you’ve been living under a conveniently placed rock, it’s more than likely that you’ve heard about Facebook’s plan for a ‘Dislike’ button. The majority of Facebook users have greeted the feature with rapturous support following years of campaigning, whilst others don’t really care. But should they? And did Zuckerberg really call it a ‘Dislike’ button after all?

What is the Dislike Button?

Facebook’s ‘Like’ button has become a cultural phenomenon since it launched on the platform, allowing users to show their support to charities, agreement to friends and generally allow them to engage without having to leave a comment or commit too much to the status in question. The feature Facebook is alluding to would work as an alternative to the Like, and will allegedly allow people to provide an extra dimension to their Facebook interactions.

So Why is This a Bad Thing?

On the surface, it’s not: a Dislike button would allow users to empathise with their friends – perfect for avoiding social media faux pas, such as when a friend breaks bad news or a political page shares something controversial.

There are, however, two areas for concern: cyberbullying and businesses’ interactions with their fans. The former can come about from users purposely ‘disliking’ a victim’s statuses and opens up a can of worms should someone target another user’s positive news. It may sound petty, but this could nip Facebook later on.

As for the second area of concern, it’s a little trickier to ascertain the sort of potential damage we’ll see. If a Dislike button becomes available on company pages, it’s up to businesses to take their social media a lot more seriously – negative sentiment towards content can now be quantifiable and it remains to be seen whether or not this could have an adverse effect on social signals further down the line. The more intricate aspects of this feature need to be thoroughly assessed before Facebook launches the button, or else they may see a mass exodus of businesses from the platform.

What Measures Are Facebook Taking?

At the moment, the button is merely a teased feature for the future – and it’s highly unlikely that they’ll stick with the word ‘Dislike’, which could save Facebook a lot of hassle. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg stated that he’s trying to avoid Facebook becoming a ‘forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts’, instead opting to introduce the feature purely for empathetic reasons. In his announcement, Zuckerberg could also have been alluding to multiple emotions as an alternative to the Like button – such as those found at the bottom of BuzzFeed articles.

Whichever way they go, Facebook will definitely need to take businesses and its more vulnerable users into consideration, perhaps by making additional buttons optional. For now, however, only time will tell – we may be giving it a big Like very soon!

Lets us know your thoughts in the comments box below.

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