Facebook introduces a #dislikebutton

Internet’s been all over the Facebook’s #dislikebutton today. Let’s take a minute to see what has really happened. Last night (European time) Facebook gathered for a town hall in their headquarters in Menlo Park, California. CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg has announced that Facebook is preparing to release a new kind of dislike button to the platform.

The plan is to introduce an extra button not to down vote other’s updates but to express people’s feelings of empathy, especially during the current refugee crisis or in the event of someone’s death. The idea is not to set up a like/dislike voting system, just like YouTube or Reddit do, but to allow users to share more feelings than just a simple “Like”.

What they really want is the ability to express empathy. Not every moment is a good moment,

Zuckerberg said during the session. It wasn’t clearly stated when is the button launched and how it is going to be called exactly. The only information that was shared is that is “very close” to having it ready for user testing. The Internet has taken over the brainstorm piece – everybody talks about pros and cons of this button and what will be the name. I came across a few interesting options:

What do you think the button will be called?

#DislikeButton was the trending hashtag on Twitter today, full of discussions about the rightfulness of introducing a pejorative keyword and its impact on the future of social media.

Some of bigger brands turned the entire discussion into one big satire against their competitors or people they didn’t necessarily “Like” such as Marmite pinching it’s Australian friend, Vegemite:

or PizzaHut criticizing Katie Hopkins, a contestant from The Apprentice, known for her sharp opinions:

I’ve taken a step back from this craziness in the media today and thought about the real purpose of a Facebook Like. What value does it actually bring? When do I hit Like when I scroll through my wall and when do I expect to get Likes once I post an update? Does a high number of likes make me happy or not? Do I actually care?

Facebook Likes are actually crucial for my job – everyday I’m expected to lift the Likes, Comments and Shares numbers and to be honest, my work effectiveness is calculated on the basis of those numbers. How will my job change once a new KPI is introduced? Will the value of likes be higher than the value of dislikes? Will it matter for business pages?

It makes me challenge the thought that all we post nowadays on Facebook for is not to get the message out there – it’s not about sharing interesting news with your friends or posting something really important. It’s about “being seen” and posting to please someone. If it’s about getting likes, we’re posting something that will get us those likes and that may not always be true to who we are. Do you agree?