The question has been thrown around for years – why doesn’t Facebook have a Dislike button?
The ‘Like’ button was introduced back in 2009. Its iconic thumbs up symbol is now synonymous with digital wellwishing.
Other platforms, such as Twitter, have a similar function, while others, including YouTube and Reddit, give users the opportunity to ‘downvote’ content.
In a recent Q&A, Facebook founder and CEO Zuckerberg revealed plans for the platform to introduce the feature soon.
In a recently posted video, Mark Zuckerberg discussed (among an hour of other topics) the potential of a ‘Dislike’ button.
Townhall Q&A: September 15, 2015Here’s the video from today’s Townhall Q&A at Facebook. People from around the world asked questions about education, science, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, my future daughter and of course the dislike button. It was great to hear everyone’s questions and feedback. Thanks for watching!
Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday, 15 September 2015
Rather than being used to ‘downvote’ content, Zuckerberg said that the ‘Dislike’ button will be introduced as an appropriate response to sensitive, “Sad” posts – the sort of status updates and content that isn’t quite ‘Like’-able.
Many are citing the recent refugee crisis for Facebook’s turnaround on their previous stance. According to Zuckerberg, “What people really want is the ability to express empathy. Not every moment is a good moment or lends itself to a like.”
Bad News for Brands?
Despite many Facebook users’ demands for a ‘Dislike’ button, the consensus with brands is less enthusiastic.
As with any major shake-up to a digital platform, there is trepidation that this update to Facebook’s core engagement model might have adverse affects on branded content.
As its function is the polar opposite of the often-measured ‘Like’, there is fear that Facebook will become a voting system. Imagine a branded post that ends up with significantly more ‘Dislikes’ than ‘Likes’; not quite disastrous, but still somewhat embarrassing for the brand in question.
Similarly, there is concern that content that is ‘Disliked’ will be punished by the News Feed algorithm, reducing organic reach and limiting the effectiveness of the message.
However, the presence of real-time feedback presents an opportunity for the best brands to iterate on their own content.
Currently, audiences can only express their opinion on content by Liking it, commenting on it (which Facebook deems an engagement, regardless of sentiment), or hiding the post. The addition of a ‘Dislike’ button will give marketers a solid, measurable idea of how content is being received, and optimise it accordingly.
As Marketing Week reports, Feefo CEO Andrew Mabbutt believes brands will go looking for ‘Dislikes’ – by posting content that intentionally evokes an empathetic response.
It may be the case that, ‘Like’ or ‘Dislike’, the click is considered engagement and rewarded by Facebook.
Over To You
What do you think? Will the Dislike button alter the way you engage with posts?