Last month’s ‘Facebook Dislike Button’ scam caused some disturbance for those seeking to voice a wider spectrum of opinion than simply ‘like’. So this seems like a good time to look at whether an official ‘dislike’ button is ever likely to happen.
But let’s first look at what’s already out there. Firstly, last month’s scam was only a partial scam. Whilst the scammers did post spam messages, and dupe users into completing an online survey, it does conclude with users being directed to an existing add-on for Firefox which offers users a dislike button. For Facebook.
But the major downside to this add-on is that only friends who: a) use Firefox and b) have installed the add-on, can see what you dislike. So what’s the point?
And with Facebook’s Open Graph ‘Like’ button permeating cyberspace, German social aggregation service Yiid launched its own dislike button to counteract the universal love and affection spread by Facebook. But again, with limited take-up, it really doesn’t put much of a dent in the Facebook ‘like’ crown.
Indifference is even pandered to with an ‘I don’t care’ extension for Google Chrome but, as per the Firefox add-on, you are limited by which browsers your buddies are using.
Of course, you already can ‘unlike’ something on Facebook…you just have to ‘like it’ first then change your mind and ‘unlike it’. But you really have to hope that your friend has noticed that you no longer ‘like’ their status update for your disdain to have any real impact which, let’s face it, is far from ideal.
No, the only thing that would work would be a genuine, bona fide, fully-sanctioned ‘dislike’ button built into the Facebook interface.
YouTube allows you to give videos a thumbs-down, whilst countless forums allow you to rate posts. People simply love to voice their disapproval and a Facebook ‘dislike’ button would give millions of people what they so dearly crave.
FaceMod, the developer behind the ‘dislike’ add-on for Firefox, states: “…the Dislike button is not for the haters…we made this for the millions of folks who use Facebook and who, like ourselves, wanted the ability to “Dislike” things to express our sympathy or shared resentment for the distasteful, the disgraceful, and the downright rotten!”
So very noble sounding. Your friend is “in bed with the flu, feeling blue :(“, and at last you can show your sympathy. Or a vague acquaintance you’ve ended up ‘friending’ on Facebook posts a rather distasteful video and you can now come out, all guns blazing and ‘dislike’ it.
But here’s why Zucker and Co. will never approve a dislike button: people simply can’t be trusted to use a dislike button sensibly.
Social media is all about building networks, being accepted, being ‘liked’, sharing information…positive things. A dislike button goes against all of that and would only promote bad karma and negativity. Anti-social media, in other words.
But over and above Facebook’s desire to keep connecting people in a positive fashion, there’s the issue of revenue. Money, as we all know, talks. All those company pages and sponsored ads bring a lot of cash to Facebook, and giving 500 million people free reign to openly dislike something which has cost a company x amount to promote doesn’t make good business sense for Facebook.
Ultimately, if something isn’t broke, it won’t be fixed. Many people may want a dislike button, but nobody would leave Facebook on the basis of it not having one. So why would Facebook rock a very profitable boat?BBC