Facebook’s Like button has become an integral part life on the social network.
But why no Dislike button?
Is it to keep a positive vibe in the Facebook ecosystem, so that you can inject a bit of cheer by just clicking a button, but need to take to the keyboard to have a dig at someone?
Is it because ad revenue might fall off on articles that are Disliked?
Is it to discourage cyberbullying?
Perhaps it’s because adding Dislike alongside the well-established Like button will turn them into little more than upvote/downvote toggles, and demean the emotional engagement that Like is supposed to convey?
Or maybe there’s no Dislike button in just the same way that reputable banks don’t sent you login links, as a scam-avoidance policy?
Indeed, the success – years ago, admittedly – of Dislike Button scams reminds us that Dislike is a feature that users would like to see, even though there’s not been any serious sign of it yet.
But that’s just changed.
In a recent Facebook Q&A session, an Egyptian Facebooker asked, as many others have asked in the past, whether the Like button would be getting any companions any time soon.
[From the floor] Q. This is one that seems to come up a lot when we have these Q&As, and it comes from Cairo, from Sayed... "Mark, we need to have more options than just the Like button. Why don't you have other options like, I'm sorry, Interesting, or Dislike."
Mark Zuckerberg’s answer?
A. You know, I think people have asked about the Dislike button for many years... And today is a special day, because it's the day where I actually get to say...
You can probably guess what’s coming next.
And you’d probably be wrong, because Zuck suddenly gets all coy, and falls back on:
...We're working on it.
Zuckerberg then spends a while saying – to be unkind, it’s actually two minutes of waffle – that it’s harder than you think to implement a Dislike button, but without explaining exactly why.
The Zuckster concludes with:
We have finally heard you! [Audience laughs] And we are working on this, and hopefully we will deliver something that meets your needs.
So, we still don’t know why Facebook doesn’t have a Dislike button, and we can’t yet be absolutely certain that it ever will.
But we’re betting that it’s going to happen.
And, do you know what?
In a way, we’ll be sorry.
We came up with our very own Dislike button more than four years ago, on a T-shirt to go with an open letter we wrote to the company, asking for the following:
1) PRIVACY BY DEFAULT No more sharing of information without your users' express agreement. 2) VETTED APP DEVELOPERS Only vetted and approved third-party developers should be allowed to publish apps. 3) HTTPS FOR EVERYTHING We welcome [your] HTTPS option, but you left it turned off by default.
Facebook didn’t quite implement all of those things as quickly or as vigorously as we might have liked, but it had a pretty good go at it, all the same.
Security and privacy seem to be a much bigger deal at Facebook these days; there are clear and extensive guidelines for App Reviews; and the company not only made HTTPS the default, but subsequently got rid of HTTP.
So our Dislike of 2011 rather pleasantly turned into a Like, and despite the occasional security and privacy glitch by Facebook since then, we haven’t seen any reason to turn the thumb downwards again like we did in 2011.
Let’s hope things stay that way, even if Dislike becomes an official way to respond to Facebook postings.
Of course, we know that not everyone has a positive view of Facebook’s security and privacy changes over the past few years.
Some people – even those who wouldn’t dream of closing their Facebook account – continue to give the company a surprisingly public and vocal “thumbs down.”
Where you do stand?
If Facebook put Like and Dislike buttons in the masthead of the website itself…
…which one would you click, and why?
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