How Would a Dislike Button Impact Facebook?

If there is one thing that the disparate denizens of the internet, particularly those that frequently participate on certain social media platform, can agree on it that Facebook needs a dislike button. The desire for such a feature is often inexplicable, and what is even more inexplicable has been Facebook’s attempts to sidestep the issue by launching alternative features such as the reactions that now form a key component of the social media experience that you will obtain while using the platform. How exactly would a dislike button impact the platform? Could it really make it significantly better?

One of Facebook’s forays into the dislike button involved a Reddit like upvote and downvote feature that could be seen on public forums. This feature was added in order to allow members of a certain community or forum to control the conversation that was occurring to some extent, and ensure that only the most helpful and insightful comments ended up making it to the top of the comments list.

Facebook's dislike option a good idea?
Screenshot: Vivisectioned / Imgur

However, this feature was only part of a test that ended up disappearing after a number of weeks. While the feature is no more, it did give us a glimpse of the various ways in which a dislike button could be implemented, although it was focused on comments rather than posts which is what people originally wanted the feature for.

One very useful way in which disliking could benefit people, at least in the capacity that Facebook showed during its upvote/downvote test run, is that it could allow people to handled bigotry and hate speech. One of the main problems with the current liking system is that someone can post a comment that is highly inflammatory and racist, one that most people would disagree with, and yet that comment would appear high up on the list of comments in that forum because of the fact that any interaction that a user would have with it would be seen as a marker of the reliability of the information within that comment by Facebook’s algorithm. A simple dislike option could put the power back in the hands of the people to actually reduce the visibility of comments like that instead of giving the posters of said comments the infamy that they so clearly want to end up achieving.

A recent post by Jamie Tallica on Reddit which garnered 17K up votes, also highlighted this issue:
"The absence of a dislike button on Facebook warps public opinions on some serious matters, and I believe it also influences peoples own opinions. The only way to counter a comment you don't agree with or are offended by is to put an Angry emoji or comment. The angry emoji is misleading and is often used to demonstrate your dislike of the subject at hand and not the comment itself. Commenting just opens up arguments, abuse and takes time." explained Tallica. Adding further, "It [Facebook dislike button] would give people the freedom to disagree without engaging, it would add balance to the site, and considering how much political debate there is on there at the moment, I think it is IMPORTANT."
While this is a very valid way to use the dislike button, at the end of the day there are certain disadvantages to it that make certain platforms wary of using it. YouTube has been mulling over removing its own dislike button out of a fear of mob mentality which leads to droves of users disliking videos that they don’t agree with. That being said, YouTube’s concerns were only raised after their heavily criticized YouTube Rewind video ended up becoming the most disliked video on the platform, so chances are that there is still some hope for the dislike button yet as long as it is implemented by the right platform.

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