Talk has been buzzing lately about a new addition to Facebook, a dislike button, and I don’t think it should happen. However, the announcement that started the rumor did not even say there was to be a dislike button.
In fact, all Mark Zuckerberg said was that the new feature will, hopefully, expand the scope of the like button. He said he wants it to give users a way to show empathy to their friends, particularly on sad posts, posts that it might normally feel odd or inappropriate to like. He wants people to be able to show sympathy to their friends, instead of dislike.
I love this idea, and I think other people will as well. More times than I can count, I remember seeing friends’ posts about unfortunate times in their lives and choosing not to like their posts simply because I didn’t “like” their situation per se, although I had sympathy for them. I know that I am not the only one to have done this; several of my friends have mentioned to me that this has happened to them as well.
For this reason I am glad that Mark Zuckerberg does not seem like he will add a dislike button. If I, or anyone else, were to want to express sympathy or empathy to a friend, how would a dislike enable me to do that? It would inform the friend that I disliked their situation, which, I suppose, could be perceived as better than liking their status.
“Liking” does have more positive connotations associated with it than “disliking.” For all a person would know, people are disliking their status not out of sympathy, but out of annoyance at their post.
Facebook is a very public website; the majority of people can see most posts unless a profile has specifically altered privacy settings. It would be awful for strangers to have the ability to share their collective dislike of a post. It would have the exact opposite effect of having several strangers like a post— it would lower self esteem, especially because of the ambiguity associated with a “dislike” as mentioned before.
Imagine this on a smaller scale, a young teenager makes a post about having a bad day at school. Imagine this teen isn’t the most popular, or even worse, has little to no friends at all.
Now imagine the other kids at this teen’s school have the ability to dislike this teen’s post— and they all do. Could you imagine how worthless this kid might feel after everyone at his school essentially informed him they did not like his post, that they didn’t even care enough to comment? A dislike button would only perpetuate cyber bullying and other forms of social media aggression.
A sympathy button, NOT a dislike button, would be a very good move on the part of Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook corporation.