Friday 28 October 2011

Facebook Gestures And The Dislike Button

I was reading an interesting post today on Mashable which asked should the new Facebook Gestures allow a "dislike" button? In my opinion, no, but there are arguments for why it should be allowed.

As you've probably heard, Facebook will soon be rolling out "Watched," "Listened" and "Read" buttons and at last month's f8 conference, the company are giving developers the power to create their own actions called Gestures. These actions are the next step in integrating Facebook with every part of the web.

Peter VanRysdam who posted the article on Mashable raises some interesting points, which looks at both the positives and negatives of allowing such a feature.

One of the positives Peter has suggested is that the "dislike" button may come in useful if for instance, you don't feel comfortable "liking" a status update about a friend's dog being put to sleep, but you may want to click a "dislike" button in order to be alerted of other comments on that post. This is a good argument and one where a "dislike" button would indeed come in useful.

The negatives however, could simply outweigh the positives.

For instance, the "unlike" button as Peter suggested, may be used to "dislike" your wedding photos or the announcement of your new nephew. Although this may not be nice if you're on the receiving end, it could also lead to worse things such as cyber-bullying of which you have no control.

There are also implications for businesses in which the "dislike" button could have a negative impact. Peter says rather than encouraging people to "like" its own page, a company could promote the link to "dislike" its competition. He goes on to say that although there is nothing illegal about this, it's not exactly business friendly. With advertisers funding Facebook, this kind of activity could have serious financial implications for the social network.

Facebook have already blocked developers from using the word "dislike" during the Open Graph development process. As Peter mentioned in his article, words like "loathe" and "doesn't like" are not on the blocked list, leading to speculation that "dislike" was specifically excluded, presumably along with a long list of profanities.

Although the "thumbs up/down" are employed on many blogs and sites such as YouTube, for Facebook, it comes down to money Peter thinks. He says "The site has built a platform that is without a doubt the most targeted marketing tool for brands of all sizes. Where else can you target potential customers down to their specific interests, age, sex and zip code? Sure, dissatisfied users can post negative comments on a brand's page, but that company has complete control to moderate and address those issues."

From this perspective, you have to agree that Facebook have indeed created a solid platform for advertisers but it's also correct in saying that they're also thinking about their revenue and the implications if such feature was allowed.

So there you have it, a handful of positives and negatives regarding the Facebook "dislike" button. Given the above arguments, will Facebook ever allow this feature or give developers the opportunity to create one? I don't think so but what do you think?

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  1. I agree with the fact that a Dislike option could become a tool of harassment and cyber bullying. That's a shame, because it would be handy to have a different option beyond the Like button. Given that other developers now have the ability to create their own options, I would say that it's going to become moot as to whether it's a good idea or not. These new options will begin popping up in the near future. It will shine a light on the darker side of human nature, as to how people choose to use those options, I guess. Personally, I think the thumbs up/down option that exists on YouTube and other sites would be the lesser of two evils.

  2. Thank you Dawn as ever for your valuable feedback. Although I believe most people would use the "dislike" button correctly, there are those that will abuse it and this is the reason as to why I think it's not a good idea for Facebook to implement could cause more harm than good.

    Funny thing is, when I was writing this post, I was thinking along the same lines as you regarding the "thumbs up/down". This would indeed be the lesser of the two evils.

    There will certainly be other options apart from the "like" button Dawn but what these will be, we will just have to wait :-)

  3. This is a useful topic for all the fb users. But I think in one hand it is a good idea to introduce dislike button but on the other hand it is not a nice gadget to a platform like fb as you said.

  4. Though I agree that it is useful to have a firm "Dislike" button, but I think we already have one or something alike. If you don't like something, you can just keep quiet or quickly click "Like" then remove your "like" by clicking "Unlike", or, comment on the item. It's not all that difficult once you get into it and understand how things work. Great post once again Derek.

  5. You make a good point John. I've been guilty of doing this myself of "liking" a post then immediately removing the "like"...this was done accidentally of course :-) Thank you as always for your visit and for your valuable feedback.


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