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Facebook Considers Emotions Other than “Like”

Facebook Considers Emotions Other than “Like”

by P. H. MadoreDecember 12, 2014

In a public question and answer session today, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg fielded one of the most commonly asked questions – whether or not Facebook would ever implement a “dislike” button.

“You know, we’re thinking about it,” said Zuckerberg. Dislike can mean two things, he said. “Some people have asked for a ‘dislike’ button because they want to be able to say that thing isn’t good, and that’s not something that we think is good for the world,” he explained. “I don’t think there needs to be a voting mechanism on Facebook about whether posts are good or bad. I don’t think that’s socially very valuable.”

Do You Want to Dislike That?

facebook appThe billionaire social media innovator went on to note that there is, however, a very common problem with the like button that Facebook is looking at addressing. If you post that a member of your family died or you lost your job, your friends only have two options: the like button or the comment box. It’s always awkward to see the like button get pressed on negative news, but anymore it can simply mean acknowledgement without any words to express emotion.

“People tell us that they don’t feel comfortable pressing ‘like’ sometimes because it doesn’t express the appropriate sentiment when someone lost a loved one or is talking about a very difficult issue,” he said. “What’s the right way to make it so people can easily express a broader range of emotions?” he said they have pondered. The obvious way is that people can simply use the comment box, but then, he said, “if you’re commenting you feel like you have to have something witty to say or add to the conversation.” He said that the company is considering ways of allowing people to express more emotions in a similar fashion to the like button is a possibility but that they want to make sure it ends up being a “force for good” and not a “force for bad and demeaning the posts that people are putting out there.” There’s always the comment box for that sort of thing, he insinuated.

This is, of course, a problem purely of our digital age – previous generations would only share personal news face to face or by letter and telephone. How someone felt about what the person was sharing would be obvious.

After a couple minutes describing these possible fundamental changes to Facebook, he said that there is “nothing coming soon” in this area but that it is “important” to the company.

Rumors of a Facebook dislike button have been run around the internet for years, similar to rumors about a per-email tax. Many folks would like to see a “dislike” button for the reasons Zuckerberg outlined, but it appears, from the talk, that this will not happen.

Also in the talk, he discussed the importance of people using their real names. “There are a lot of online communities that are kind of separate from reality and the world, and with Facebook we’ve tried to make it so that it’s more of a reflection of the relationships that you have in the real world.”

Images from Shutterstock.

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