It’s official: Facebook is working on a “dislike” button…
That’s right—it’s not just a rumour anymore; Mr. Mark Zuckerberg himself made an official statement about its arrival, sending users (and brands) into a frenzy of anticipation.
“People have asked about the ‘dislike’ button for many years, and 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.”
In recent years, Facebook has resisted creating a “dislike” button, fearing it could create a negative aura in the world’s most popular social network. But it seems Zuckerberg has softened his stance, saying the new feature will allow people to “express empathy” with their Facebook friends.
“If you are sharing something that is sad…then it may not feel comfortable to ‘like’ that post.”
I think we’ve all been in an uncomfortable “should I like this post?” situation.
For example, you log into Facebook, read a friend’s status update about their horrible day, and instantly want to show empathy; you hover your cursor over the ‘like’ button for a moment, then hesitate: “Is it really appropriate to like this post?” You refrain, and instead offer an encouraging word in the comment section instead.
At the same time, you see other people “liking” the status and it doesn’t seem right. (I always find this especially odd when I see a status about a loved one who passed away. To me, at least, it can borderline on offensive, even when I know that’s not the visitor’s intent.)
There has to be a better way to show compassion…
And that’s exactly what Mark Zuckerberg is setting out to do; he’s creating a new opportunity–not for users to “dislike” something–but to sympathize or convey support.
What Does The “Dislike” Button Mean For Brands?
If Zuckerberg follows through with the plan to create a legitimate “dislike” button, it could easily be a headache for brands.
Those that were timid about directly engaging with consumers before may need more coaching if negativity can be stirred with a simple click of a button.
However, I think Zuckerberg is smarter than that.
He’s openly stated that he doesn’t want “to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts.”
However this new button plays out, there are factors brands will have to consider:
Facebook uses its algorithm to determine how long a post appears in your newsfeed by weighing engagement and interest on that specific post.
Brands should be aware that this new button, whether it’s dislike, empathy or something else, will have a direct effect on the traction of specific posts.
This is especially true if the new button is given the same weight as the ‘like’ feature.
An additional option for post engagement means brands will have to be more strategic about the content they create and anticipate how their fans might react.
It will be a period of trial and error and experimentation with content to see what works best, just like when the Algorithm changed back in January.
This truly depends on what the actual button turns out to be. Once it’s officially released, the strategizing must begin.
Measuring success on Facebook has traditionally been through positive engagement with likes, comments and shares.
The arrival of a new button makes you wonder how measuring success will change.
For example, what if a post has 10 likes but 90 ‘sympathy’ hits. Does this make the post less shareable? Or does it make it more shareable?
Once again, it really depends on the nature of the button.
Until the button (will it even BE a button? The suspense is killing me!) is launched, it’s difficult to discuss what the immediate implications might be. But one thing is for sure: It will change the way users and brands do business on Facebook, and as marketers, it’ll be our job to adapt!
What are your thoughts about the impending “dislike” button? Do you think Zuckerberg will go through with it or will he surprise us with a feature we weren’t quite expecting? Let’s discuss!