Facebook is becoming more emotionally complex. In recognition of how awkward it can be to “like” a post that announces a friend’s loved one has died, the social network is working on adding a “dislike” button.
But in the end, the new button won’t really be “dislike,” because such a button could foster quite a lot of bullying and hurt feelings on Facebook. Instead, it will be used to express negative, but less offensive, feelings.
“It’s important to give people more options than just ‘like,'” Mark Zuckerberg said after announcing the new button, USA Today reported. “Not every moment is a good moment.”
The social network may unveil more than just a “dislike” button. An array of buttons to express different emotions may soon be available; a “sympathize” button is possible, as well as others that express various levels of support and understanding.
Users have been calling for a variety of ways to express their feelings on Facebook, beyond the goofy and one-dimensional “like” that is so synonymous with the site. Zuckerberg has been hesitant to add a “dislike” option, because some people want it for bad reasons.
“Some people have asked for a dislike button because they want to say, ‘That thing isn’t good.’ And that’s not something that we think is good for the world. So we’re not going to build that.”
Hate that your friend keeps posting status updates about her cat? Tired of seeing baby photos? Click “dislike.” Although, that’s not what Facebook wants to do, because — as one Quora user pointed out — people aren’t in a rush to have their friends hate on the content they choose to share.
And Facebook wants to be a happy, positive place. Also, adding “dislike” to its emotional menu may improve the News Feed — and ensure the company continues to rake in ad dollars, according to Time.
Nowadays, Facebook curates your News Feed via complicated algorithms that parse down the content into something more manageable. These algorithms aren’t the best at reading minds and predicting absolutely everything users want to see. Liking posts helps make that prediction a bit easier.
And as Wired pointed out, if users don’t like posts about Syrian refugees simply because using a thumbs up to express your sympathy with their plight seems just plain insensitive, Facebook will weed out that content even though users might actually want to see it.
If users can “dislike,” or sympathize, or support, or praise a post, they may actually get to see variety of content — beyond family reunion pictures and photos of their friends’ new puppy. More content means more users and more ad dollars for Facebook. And possibly, more depressing, but pertinent, content.
[Photo Courtesy Justin Sullivan / Getty Images]