Facebook Dislike Button: Top Social Media Experts Weigh In
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg caused a bit of a stir last Friday when he revealed that the company is thinking about adding the oft-requested “Dislike” button. Read on to find out what this means for business and what the top social media influencers think about it.
Zuckerberg’s response came amid a Townhall Q&A being hosted at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, California – where he was answering the top voted question: “Judging by the success of the Like button, has there been any discussion of a Dislike button?”
“You know, we’re thinking about it,” conceded Zuckerberg, “on the Dislike button. There are more sentiments that people want to express than just positivity or that they like something.” But he was quick to explain the complexity of such a move:
“A lot of times people share things on Facebook that are sad moments in their lives. Or are tough cultural or social things. And often people tell us that they don’t feel comfortable pressing like because like isn’t the appropriate sentiment when someone lost a loved one or is talking about a very difficult issue. And I think giving people the power to do that in more ways with more emotions would be powerful but we need to figure out the right way to do it so that it ends up being a force for good and not a force for bad and demeaning the post that people are putting out there.”
So it seems that Facebook is considering adding something as an alternative to the Like button, but it probably won’t be as cut and dry as a “Dislike” button, especially in the wake of several cyber-bullying cases that have gotten national attention. The last thing Facebook wants to do is give these offenders another weapon to use!
Instead, Facebook is exploring ways to allow users to quickly express a more diverse range of emotions when it comes to a post. “Isn’t that what commenting, emoticons, and unliking are for?” you ask, making an excellent point. But it seems that those means aren’t as agile and light-weight as the Like button.
Zuckerberg admitted that much, “you know you can always just comment, right, so it’s not like there isn’t a way to do that today, and a lot of people are commenting on posts all the time. But there’s something that’s just so simple about the Like button.”
While Facebook is committed to making sure its users are happy, it doesn’t want to throw its advertisers under the bus.
What does this mean for business?
Brands have gotten accustomed to taking a beating on social media when they stumble and have generally come out stronger because of it. This open criticism allows them to learn what works and what doesn’t at light-speed and this is a good thing. Nevertheless, providing an additional means for people to quickly express negative sentiment may have some brands a bit anxious.
Paul Coggins, CEO of ad firm Adludio weighed in on the potential move in an interview with BBC:
“Facebook’s big concern is revenue,” he said. “They need to keep their advertisers happy. I would think it highly unlikely that they would come up with a button that says you can ‘dislike’. I think they will extend the success of the Like button, which has been huge. Rather than have a quick yes-no, which is a bit black and white, my guess is that they’ll probably look to do something with a bit more sentiment around it.”
So, if Facebook does decide to deliver a button, it will most likely be a more refined one that will benefit advertisers just as much as the Fan. An enhanced option for quickly expressing sentiment could provide brands with a new way to connect with Fans while also creating an additional metric with which they can measure their success.
Then again, Facebook could be playing with fire.
Top Social Media Influencers Weigh In
There’s more to the Dislike button than meets the eye. With that in mind, I decided to reach out to the top social media experts for their opinions on the matter.
Nathan Latka: CEO and Founder of Heyo.
“Facebook will not add a dislike button because it’ll hurt Faceboook’s ad business. If a brand is considering spending money to promote content, but the risk exists that the content will get dislikes, they won’t run the ad at all.The closest FB will come to a dislike button is the surveys and options they offer in the Newsfeed for consumers to unfollow brands updates.”
Lynette Young: Content Marketing Manager at AWeber, and Purple Stripe Founder
“I’m going to say NO on Facebook implementing a button like that. While sites like Reddit (and before that Digg) use similar activity to gauge users acceptance of content and participation of community – the negative repercussions (flaming, trolling, malicious down-voting, etc.) would probably be detrimental to ad sales and general user happiness.”
Scott Ayres: Ambassador of Awesomeness at Post Planner
“No they won’t head down that negative path as it feeds trolls and haters too much, Facebook has worked too hard to rid the site of that. But I can see them testing some sort of “sentiment” type buttons on posts or perhaps as a comment.”
Kim Garst: CEO at BoomSocial
“No, I don’t believe that Facebook will go down this negative road. I agree with Scott in that I think they will test some positive sentiment types of buttons. Their overall goal is to build a better user experience so incorporating ways to express emotions could be an interesting addition to the platform!”
Joshua Parkinson: Chief Customer Pain Killer at Post Planner
“My guess is Facebook will never add a button specifically labeled “Dislike”. But they will definitely keep adding new and creative ways for users to privately express negative feedback on posts. I personally use “I don’t want to see this” all the time — and I’m certain it has improved my news feed experience.”
Mari Smith: Social Media Marketing Leader at Mari Smith
“Absolutely not. There is much confusion about what Mark said the other day on his Q&A Townhall session. He said Facebook has considered a dislike button. But it would propagate negativity in the world, especially as a voting mechanism, and the company wants to put more positivity in to the world. To that end, Facebook is looking at ways to allow users to express sentiments other than just like, for example: empathy, sympathy, surprise, etc. for responding to situations where sometimes it feels awkward to hit the like button.”
Ian Cleary: Founder of RazorSocial
“I don’t think Facebook will ever have a dislike button. At the moment people can like, comment or share a post. Giving people 4 or 5 options is not going to work as well. Maybe Facebook will tackle this a different way and allow you to post different type messages and the ‘Like’ button could be something else depending on the type of message you send.”
Andrea Vahl: Social Media Consultant, Strategist and Speaker Co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies
“Facebook will definitely not release a dislike button because it is too negative and could damage the user experience. I think they may change things up in letting people express their feelings in a different way just like the emoticons and stickers do. But it will always skew positive.”
Jennifer Bennet: Social Media Specialist, Speaker, and Trainer at iBloom
“Since Facebook recently did a study where they manipulated the Facebook newsfeed and found that the emotions of others do in fact affect your mood, my thoughts are that they will not move forward with a dislike button. With that said though, I do believe that they will continue adding options for people to express their emotions. The addition of “stickers” in comments is just one way that they have done this.”
Justin Brooke: Founder, Speaker, Blogger, Ad Man at IMScalable
“As an advertiser I already know Facebook hates negativity in the newsfeed. They can already decipher if something is “disliked” by the lack of engagement or sentiment of comments. I can’t think of a single benefit other than some users want it. They are more likely to include some form of rating or emoticon device, even that is a stretch though.”
Phil Henderson: Founder at Stupidly Simple Marketing
“If they do then they open up a whole different can of worms. On a personal level, individuals could be open to bullying tactics, on a business level, competitors will employ dirty deed tactics as they are already employing on other ‘review’ type sites.”
LaTasha Mullins: Blogger and Trainer at the University of Digital and Internet Marketing
“Although a dislike button will increase engagement, it could have a huge negative impact on business owners who use Facebook for paid news-feed marketing, for that reason I believe that Facebook will be hesitant to release such a feature.”
Conner McDonald: Associate at Capco — “A dislike button would create an even more judgmental culture than currently exists on Facebook. I always try to remind people that we censor the digital representation of ourselves in a way that is unique to real life. In real life, we glance in the mirror and fix our hair. On Facebook we edit, delete, contemplate, re-edit, and omit things that we cannot omit in the physical realm. A dislike button would eschew more insecurity than already exists. If it is in the works, i hope it doesn’t become reality.”
Dave Newglass: Managing Director at Wise Global Training Ltd. — “I think it would be a big mistake. It will turn into a troller’s haven and introduce too much negativity.”
Sean Malarkey: Author and Speaker at the The Money Pillow, President of Inspired Marketing — “It’s funny you ask. I actually wrote a 103 page book on this exact topic. To save you the time I’ll sum it up for you = NO, FB will not release a dislike button.”
Leslie Starkey Coty: Social Media Coach & Speaker at Coty Connections — “Heck, No. But I like the idea of other buttons to help express our emotions/sentiments.”
Esteban Contreras: Founder of Social Nerdia — “Facebook will do what Facebook will do.”
What do you think?
Tell me in the comments. Should there be a Facebook Dislike button? What about an alternative button for expressing sentiments? What kind of button would you add?
Top Photo via zeevveez/Flickr