Facebook ‘Dislike’ Button Real Purpose Exposed

Facebook’s “Dislike” button could change the way Facebook is used, but not the way users might expect.

Could the creation of this often-discussed button become a way for programmers to weed out the posts users aren’t reading in the future? Potentially so, according a Time report.

Facebook CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the creation of a Facebook “dislike” button at a Q&A session at Facebook’s headquarters on Tuesday. While Zuckerberg has been wary of the creation of a Facebook “dislike” button in the past, Facebook’s changing content seems to have finally necessitated such a button.

How the Facebook “dislike” button will be used is primarily through the News Feed of each user, which shows the activity of other Facebook friends. While this information was once shown in chronological order, it now uses an algorithm to piece together what most likely interests each Facebook user. Having a Facebook “dislike” button can help to pare down the content that each user is not interested in viewing.

While it’s true programmers can pare down posts from a user’s news feed, the other obvious reason for the button is also accurate. Currently, each Facebook member can use the “like” to show their support of each post, picture, story or news article, but a Facebook “dislike” button can add more depth to how a person reacts to each post. The option of using a Facebook “dislike” button really comes down to expression, according to Mark Zuckerberg.

“If you’re expressing something sad… it may not feel comfortable to ‘like’ that post, but your friends and people want to be able to express that they understand.”

Indeed, the introduction of a Facebook “dislike” button is evident of the way that the use of Facebook has evolved. While still a place to post pictures of trips and babies, it is increasingly becoming a place to get news. As Politico notes, Facebook is the No. 1 news source for Millennials (individuals born from the mid-1980s to 2000s) to access news. This means that as users share sad news stories of Syrian refugees or share Amber Alerts for missing children, an alternative to the “like” button is needed.

Whether the Facebook “dislike” button will be a thumbs down icon, though, is still up for discussion. As ABC News reports, the creation of a Facebook “dislike” button is more about offering an alternative way for Facebook users to offer their support if a “like” isn’t exactly what they’re feeling as Mark Zuckerberg explained.

“What they really want is the ability to express empathy. Not every moment is a good moment.”

The Facebook “dislike” button is still in development but when it is launched, it will change the landscape of social media. While the “like” button has become a staple of this generation’s culture and vocabulary, it remains to be seen how the “dislike” button will integrate into the current zeitgeist.

[Image by Stephen Lam/Getty Images]