Do We Need ‘Dislikes’ on Facebook?

15 / 03 / 2019 -

One of the most talked about topics in the world of social media is the introduction of a ‘dislike’ button. Users have been pushing for this feature ever since the ‘like’ button itself was created. You may be interested in what Mark Zuckerberg had to say about it here.

Facebook actually experimented last year with a test which introduced Reddit-like ‘upvote’ and ‘downvote’ options on comments. According to the Silicon Valley giant, this was introduced with the intention of lessening the impact of comments made with ‘bad intentions’ and creating a fairer community, not an argumentative one.

facebook dislike button

Reddit user Jamie Tallica suggested a potential option for Facebook dislikes – with the aim to stop hate speech on the platform.

Tallica’s Reddit post read:

“Imagine being a generally ignorant, racist, bigoted idiot and commenting something obscene online? You might post a comment that really offends 18,000 out of 20,000 people, but it shows 2k likes from like-minded idiots. This sends out the wrong message – this tells people who are just passing that the opinion is popular, there’s a lack of balance without the effort of commenting and getting involved in a spat. Add a dislike function and suddenly the comment has 2k likes, but 18k dislikes, which tells people that this is an unpopular viewpoint and might make people think twice about what they say, or take a rain check on their attitudes.”

I think most people would agree that Tallica’s suggestion makes complete sense. Having the ability to simply indicate to Facebook that you dislike a certain piece of content through a quick tap of the button could see less negativity on the platform.

The same could be said of ‘fake news’ – if a user shares a false news story, you could use a dislike option to indicate that that angle is incorrect. Right now, people will often use the ‘Angry’ Reaction for this purpose, but ‘Angry’ can just as easily show that you’re angry about the content itself, not the validity of it.

However, at the start of the year, YouTube suggested that it might consider removing its own ‘dislike’ button, in order to stop what’s become known as ‘downvote mobs’ – targeted attacks of dislikes on certain content to reduce the popularity of it in the algorithm.

YouTube was recently on the receiving end of this, with its 2018 Rewind clip quickly becoming the most downvoted video of all time (currently at 15m downvotes).

With all of this going on, there has been considerable debate in the industry regarding what to do about a ‘dislike’ button. It’s an option that’s long been debated, both by users and Facebook itself. Whether it will actually come to fruition though, only time will tell.

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Ronnie Cane

Ronnie is the social media arm of Embryo Digital. He's always looking ahead and thinking up new creative campaigns to ensure that our clients stay relevant and ahead of the trend.

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