Mark Zuckerberg is giving Facebook users what they’ve wanted since the social media service went mainstream in the mid-2000s: the “dislike” button.
The CEO and co-founder of Facebook announced yesterday that his team is working on the feature. The long-awaited revelation came during a Q&A session at a town-hall meeting at the company’s Menlo Park, CA headquarters.
“People have asked about the ‘dislike’ button for many years, and probably hundreds of people have asked about this, and today is a special day because today is the day that I actually get to say we are working on it,” Zuckerberg said. “We have an idea that we’re going to be ready to test soon, and depending on how that does, we’ll roll it out more broadly.”
Does this have the potential to change the social media landscape? Before you get excited about laying down the hate on your uncle’s hardcore political posts, on every photo your friends post of their babies and/or puppies (and/or kittens), or a company or brand that you feel wronged you, keep in mind that the button likely won’t be able to be used that way.
Facebook has avoided the dislike button in the past over concerns that people would use it for hatemongering—and worse, that the potential for hate from other users would cause people to share less (and Zuckerberg certainly doesn’t want that).
Instead, any possible dislike button (or whatever they end up naming it) will be meant for more somber situations, to express sympathy or empathy. “Not every moment is a good moment, and if you are sharing something that is sad, whether it’s something in current events, like the refugees crisis that touches you or if a family member passed away, then it may not feel comfortable to like that post. ” Zuckerberg said. “It’s important to give people more options than just like.”