Facebook Developing Nuanced ‘Dislike’ Option

by Matt Klassen on September 21, 2015

When the ‘Like’ feature was first introduced by Facebook it was a useful little button that revolutionized the word-of-mouth marketing plan. By utilizing it, interested users could quickly share their findings with their friends while allowing businesses to get their name out there. But over the years many businesses have felt the pinch of not having as many ‘Likes’ as the next guy, and thus the latest trend in Facebook marketing was born, suckering users into clicking ‘Like’ by offering them free stuff if they do. Now the ‘Like’ button has become so ubiquitous, so over-used, that it’s effectively meaningless.

More than the fact that when you ‘Like’ everything, you really ‘Like’ nothing at all though, that pesky little button is inauthentic, as it stands as the only way for quickly interacting with other’s content on the social network. If you don’t like something, say a post about something tragic, your default interaction options are nil.

In fact, for years users have clamoured for the antithesis of the ‘Like,’ the far more hurtful yet still enjoyable ‘Dislike’ button. But while you may revel in the notion of disliking all the garbage that floods your network, evidence from a patent filing that has just come to light hints that Facebook’s approach to the ‘Dislike’ will be likely be far more nuanced than a simple button…and a lot less fun.

Again, before you get too excited about disliking everything you see on Facebook, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg was quick to point out that whatever alternative to the ‘Like’ button the company creates, it won’t be as simple as liking or disliking something, but will attempt to create a better way for people to express a wider range of emotions, as opposed to only being able to tacitly approve of everything.

“It’s always been difficult to sympathize with someone’s misfortune on Facebook by ‘liking’ their post,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst at NetPop Research. It creates an awkward moment when people who struggle to convey real emotion simply can’t find the correct digital representation for what they think they’re feeling.

More to the point, while users may want a ‘Dislike’ button, I think we can all see the havoc that would rage across the social network, as flame wars, spamming, online bullying and every other terrible thing we say anonymously behind our keyboards would be sent spiralling out of control.

“You know, it took us awhile to get here. Because you know, we didn’t want to just build a Dislike button because we don’t want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts,” Zuckerberg explained.

The patent in question, filed late last year, shows a user interaction system with a drop-down menu of emoji options, allows users to state how they feel about a particular status or piece of news through a small handful of digital emotions. While it’s not a ‘Dislike’ button that will show a thumbs down to all the garbage that floods the social network daily, it is a new way to bring some level of deeper emotional response to this erstwhile monolithic platform.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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