Facebook has been posed the question thousands of times, probably millions, regarding their intention to implement a “dislike button” on the social network. This week Facebook held a second question and answer session, in a town hall forum setting. Facebook has grown more comfortable with interacting with their users and answering questions that the users have by holding these events in California. One of the most popular questions was the one involving a ‘dislike’ button.
A dislike button has been something that users have asked for, investors have wondered about, and the company has remained largely silent about. At the question and answer session Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg finally answered the question but didn’t give the answer that many expected. While the company has maintained a fair amount of silence – when the question has been posed before – Zuckerberg did shed some light on his thoughts regarding the idea of a dislike button.
He answered the question with a lengthy answer, but he began his explanation with a short discourse about the like button. Zuckerberg said, “There is something just so simple about the ‘like’ button. When you comment, you feel that you have to have something witty to say or add to the conversation, but you can just press the like button and that is a simple way to sympathize or empathize with someone.”
He went on to note that a ‘dislike’ button would simply be too one-dimensional by adding, “Some people have asked for a ‘dislike’ button because they want to say that thing isn’t good. That’s not something that we think is good for the world.”
While the Facebook founder and CEO was clear about his intentions regarding a ‘dislike’ button, he did point out that the company is exploring an additional button, or something more – that could offer another way to interact with the person. He went on to point out that, “What I think is there are more sentiments that people want to express rather than just positivity. People share things that are sad or are tough cultural or social things and people tell us they are not comfortable pressing ‘like’ because ‘like’ is not the appropriate sentiment when someone lost a loved one or is talking about a difficult issue.”
Zuckerberg and the rest of the Facebook team seem to be clear on the ‘dislike’ button issue. While the company agrees that something more is needed – that doesn’t necessarily mean that a dislike button is the answer. Right now, while nothing is known for an absolute fact, it would appear as though Facebook is seriously considering some alternative answers to the ‘dislike’ button debate that seems to constantly swirl.
There is also the economic impact that a dislike button would have. Ultimately, it’s been pointed out that a traditional dislike button could push individuals to publish less on the site – and that would hurt the bottom line of the company. The company thrives on information and sharing, and a dislike button would certainly hurt the amount of information that is being shared on the social network.