Five Reasons Why Facebook Needs a "Dislike" Button

dislike

Ever since Facebook began allowing people to "like" other people's postings, millions of its users--and at least one Fast Company blogger--have been wondering the same thing: When will Facebook add a "dislike" button? Now, at last, we have an answer. Kind of.

"Currently, we don't have plans to build a 'Dislike Button,'" Facebook emailed us in a statement. "But that's not to say we would rule it out for future development."

Satisfied? Yeah, neither were we. Here are five reasons why Facebook should stop stalling, and start making our dislike button dreams a reality:

1. People really, really want it. Already, more than 3.2 million users have become fans of the "Dislike Button," 1.3 million have signed a petition supporting it, and 550,000 have joined the group "100,000 Strong to gain a Dislike Button." Given all the flack Facebook has taken recently for violating its users' privacy, it couldn't hurt to throw some of them a bone.

2. It'll streamline commiseration. Ostensibly, the point of the "like" button is to let users approve their friends' Facebook activity without having to write an actual comment. But not all Facebook activity is positive. We've all seen status updates like "Drowning in homework," "Stuck at work on a Saturday," and "Did the Vikings really just blow that game??!?!!" Adding a dislike button would allow us to express concern without really getting involved--the virtual equivalent of a sympathetic frown.

3. It'll (possibly) boost revenues. By letting users "digg" or "bury" its ads--and then prorating advertiser costs accordingly--Digg has made lots of money and placated its users. Adding a dislike button could send Facebook down a similar path.

4. It'll make Facebook aggression even more passive. Y'know that one Facebook friend who compulsively posts links to stupid quizzes and irreverent articles? Sure, you could ignore him, or tell him off in a comment. But "disliking" his missives can be just as effective and requires less time and energy--the virtual equivalent of an eye-roll.

5. It's already being done. A handful of third-party developers (including Firefox) are promoting dislike button applications, to varying degrees of success. But given that Facebook has killed other fun, negative apps in the past--especially if they involve unfriending--creating an official version would show that Zuckerberg and Co. are not as uptight as they're made out to be.

Got more pros (or cons)? As always, feel free to leave 'em in the comments.

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1 Comments

  • Michael Reilly

    One of Facebook's early strengths was its ability to filter your news feed to show you posts that are most likely to interest you. By "liking" posts, you can confirm you approve of the suggestion, but there is no way to provide negative feedback to the algorithm. This leaves the door open to Google to step in and provide this functionality. Google+ Already offers the useful feature of filtering your feed and posts by friend groupings. That said, the idea of commiserating with someone over something negative seems like it would need to have a different button, otherwise we would teach the algorithm to hide those posts.