Facebook is to add a “dislike” button to its social network after being constantly requested by some users since the introduction of the famous “like” button in 2009.
The 31 year old founder, Mark Zuckerberg, revealed in a Q & A session held at Facebook’s headquarters in California that the button would be a way for people to express empathy and it was “very close” to having it ready for user testing.
Mr Zuckerberg told the audience on Tuesday that “Probably hundreds of people have asked about this, and today is a special day because today is the day that I actually get to say we are working on it, and are very close to shipping a test of it.”
However, Zuckerberg made it clear that he did not want the “dislike” button to become a mechanism with which people could “down vote” others’ posts, but will be appropriate in times when clicking “like” on “sad” posts felt insensitive.
An expert in social and participatory media at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Prof Andrea Forte, said users will not suddenly turn on each other’s posts.
She wrote that “They may use a dislike button to express some negative emotions (like frustration with ads popping up in their feeds) but I doubt it will cause them to start wantonly disliking pictures of their friends’ babies, dogs, cats and cooking experiments.”
“I suspect it will mainly be used to express mild disapproval, or to express solidarity when someone posts about a negative event like a death or a loss.”
By Francesca Stainer