What Does Facebook’s “Dislike Button” Means



By Nazia Khan-Ahmed

Mark Zuckerberg mentioned in a recent press event that he is building a “dislike” button – that may present a new set of challenges for the online business world. This button is however in the testing, and will be released for pilot testing soon. Zuckerberg also mentioned that this button may be active as soon as next month.


Is This the “YouTubing” of Facebook?

YouTube is famous not only for videos but for its commenting, likes and…dislike feature. There are plenty of other examples like Reddit – where new replies are lost because of their weird algorithms, but that is another cup of tea (I will be brewing it soon).

What is synonymous with YouTube? Oh well, trolls. Yes sir! There will be a lot of trolls – trolling, and that may create some substantial amount of clutter and a lot of “unfriending”.

Lets get down to the point.


Why is Facebook doing this?

When Mark Zuckerberg created this university-closet project, he had no idea that his small application would become an influential item such that is right now. Facebook has influence – it has the authority to empower individuals, groups, minorities and powerful figures around the world to communicate with mere ‘taps’ and ‘clicks’. Facebook is all positivity and no negativity, sure I can sugarcoat the word ‘negativity’ with ‘constructive criticism’ and change the word ‘sugarcoat’ with ‘euphemism’, but these dirty literary tricks will only show my anger towards the subject.

Facebook was the only place where no none, I mean no one, could dislike you or your post, sure you can be unfriended or ‘un liked’. But to be ‘un liked’ on Facebook, you have to be ‘liked’ first. That is a win-win situation; Mark Zuckerberg is taking that away from us love-me-I-am-perfect individuals. On a different note, if Ernest Hemmingway had seen the numbers of hyphens I used in the last sentence, he would have probably asked me to shoot myself, but sadly, he is dead.

On a neutral note, this might be the balance that Facebook needs, but they could have done this before right?

Mark Zuckerberg didn’t want Facebook to become a place of negativity, he perhaps wanted Facebook to be an online Eden where the only thing you can throw at someone is a flower, but that is stupidity. You know businesses right? They would do anything to tank their competition, spamming slanderous and fake comments, interacting with the customers of their competitors disguised as customers, posting fake experiences – Facebook does not want that, plain and simple. Zuckerberg clarified that this new ‘dislike’ button is more like a sympathy button.


Is Facebook Falling Into Ye Olde Trap?

Sites like Imgur, 9Gag and Reddit who are painfully vote focused are already in that proverbial trap.The folks at Facebook know that when people talk about negativity on Facebook, they usually mention breakups, illness and death, so yes a sympathy button is on the cards but Facebook is naming as a ‘dislike’ button, what’s up with that?

When people click the like button to a post, they express support and sympathy, so when you see 10 likes on a post which says “I just lost my dog” those 10 likes are not by people who get some sort of satisfaction by knowing that their friend is in emotional pain – in fact many clarify that their ‘like’ was meant as an online gesture of support – and not a ‘cheers’ with beer mugs making clinging sounds on the misfortune of others.

Now you might ask that how will Facebook execute this button? A lot of people expect it to be an option which is always available for every post.

Facebook needs to test the button before putting it out there. It also seems like that they have a system and it requires to be tested in a more detailed manner. Facebook can’t make their sympathy button to turn into a type of engagement that is negative.

Now the thing Facebook has to do is to come up with a method that tests the causes of visibility of the button.

This visibility of the button depends on the post for example the term ‘Passed Away’ might trigger the sympathy button.

They are not looking to enable users to add the sympathy button manually. People might reverse engineer the words that trigger this button and use it for their own benefit. Some might use it for fun and others might use by accident. There is a pretty good chance that it is being used to marketing as well.You can use this button to increase business and there are few ways you might be able to utilize it.

Acknowledge Flaws or Make Announcements

Say you have a popular product, and you are sold out for that product and won’t be able to restore your stock in a timely fashion. When you make such an announcement, you might be able to trigger the button by saying something like “we are sorry to announce” that your product is out of stock. You can then use the sympathy button as a way to measure interest in the restocking of your products and the ratio between demand and supply, as well as spur on discussion about the product and any updates or upgrades users might be looking for in it.


Using a Sympathy Button to Mourn a Loss

You can use the sympathy button for the purpose it was created for. You can announce the loss of your team members or CEO or any member of board of directors. You also can report it to the general public. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about passing away, it could be about someone leaving the company for other opportunities.


Use it for Current Events

There is always something going around you and some of it need our attention. You can report negative events on your page and trigger the sympathy button easily. This is how Facebook works that the reporter gets all the attention. You can use all this attention in favor of your brand.


About the Author

Nazia Khan- Ahmed is a Social Media Writer who has majored in Textile Designing. Also Holds Bachelor’s degree in Education and English Language Certification. Finds it impossible to discuss herself in third person but is doing so as per the demands of this bio. She is a home-maker and teaches Textile Designing to degree classes at the same time. Being nocturnal has taught her to manage her work in the night and her home at day time.