Facebook's Working on a Dislike Button, but It May Not Be What You Expect

Facebook's Working on a Dislike Button, but It May Not Be What You Expect
After years of requests from its users, Facebook has confirmed it's working on a "dislike" button.

"People have asked about the dislike button for many years. Today is a special day, because today is the day I can say we're working on it and shipping it," Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said during a live Q&A session Tuesday.

You've long been able to "like" something on Facebook with the click of a button. But for some content, that doesn't work so well, Zuckerberg acknowledged.

"Not every moment is a good moment," he said. "If you share something that's sad, like a refugee crisis that touches you or a family member passes away it may not be comfortable to like that post."

The answer to that problem might casually be referred to as a dislike button. But Zuckerberg wanted to avoid creating a system of reddit-style up and down votes.

And with good reason: Unlike reddit, Facebook's feed is the product of a sophisticated algorithm, which means it would need to be taught how to handle the new button. Would a torrent of dislikes serve to bury a post in your newsfeed? Or elevate it?

Facebook's answer seems to be "neither." What the service appears to prefer is something that allows you to express "empathy" with "more options."

This isn't the first time Zuckerberg has considered the idea. In December, he revealed that he had been weighing how to implement a dislike button that would be a "force for good."

This may mean a range of possible responses that offer alternatives to the like option without being its direct opposite.

© 2015 The Washington Post


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