The creator of the famous Facebook "Like" button doesn't think a "Dislike "button will be popping up on the site anytime soon. He says the potential negativity inherent in the use of such a button outweighs its appeal.
The "Like" button is arguably one of the most useful and widely used features on Facebook. Besides giving users the ability to quickly show approval of a post or photograph, it has also become a corporate marketing opportunity, with many companies now offering gifts and free goodies simply to click the "Like" button on Facebook, sharing one's approval of their product or service.
But what about a "Dislike" button to show opposite feelings? It seems like a naturally intuitive idea, and in fact the subject was discussed extensively, says ex-Facebook CTO Bret Taylor. The dislike button "came up a lot. In fact even the language of the word like was something we discussed a lot as well. But regarding the dislike button, the main reason is that in the context of the social network, the negativity of that button has a lot of unfortunate consequences."
Taylor explains, "The reason we launched the button in the first place was that there were a lot of times that people wanted to acknowledge something someone did, but didn't have anything to say. And a lot of comments were one word like 'cool' or 'wow' so the like button let people do that with a single click. It wasn't really just a sentiment of 'like'."
Taylor feels the complexity inherent in the use of a dislike button could cause unnecessary negativity, which could potentially support practices such as cyber-bullying. "I have the feeling that if there were to be a 'dislike' button you would end up with these really negative social aspects to it. If you want to dislike something, you should probably write a comment, because there's probably a word for what you want to say. I'm not saying the 'like' button isn't flawed, but it would be even more complex with a negative sentiment like 'dislike'."
So it looks as if Facebook won't be adding a "dislike" button anytime soon. Prior reports have also claimed that Facebook was considering the addition of a "sympathize" button, to combat the awkwardness of expressing that you "like" a post which conveys a negative emotion, for example the announcement that someone is ill or has passed away. Since these reports materialized last year, however, no news on the introduction of the "sympathize" button has been reported.
Since he left Facebook in 2012, Taylor has co-founded Quip, a cross-platform word processing suite.