Ever since there has been the option to ‘like’ something on Facebook, there has been a demand for a ‘dislike’ button. If we have the power to approve, why don’t we have the power to disapprove, right? After years of refusing to bow to public pressure, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced yesterday (Tuesday, 15 September) at a Q&A session at the company’s headquarters, that the social media platform will soon introduce the ‘dislike’ button.
Zuckerberg explained the reason behind their decision: ‘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.’ For example, it is not appropriate to ‘like’ a status about a friend passing away but at the same time, you would like to acknowledge the post – as a way to express empathy without having to comment.
Of course, the first thing that jumps to mind is whether the dislike button will encourage online trolls. Facebook might have lofty, morally sound goals, but as of yet we don’t know how the button will be implemented. This makes it easy to assume that it will be used as just another form of cyber bullying. If anything, a dislike button might make online abuse even easier for bullies.
But essentially, the new ‘dislike’ button is not meant to be malicious. It’s aim is to acknowledge the emotional nuances of the world we live in. And I think that’s a pretty great step in online interaction. As for the negative implications of giving people even more power to publicly voice their dislike for a subject, the outcome relies in the form Facebook will choose to implement it.
At the end of the day, the real power lies with the public and how they will choose to use this new tool – and we can only hope it’s for the better.
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