After countless requests, Facebook is giving users a feature they’ve been clamoring for: a Dislike button. Just as people can give the thumbs up to posts that make them smile, soon they’ll have the ability to give a thumbs down to content that makes them experience less positive emotions.
Any business owner who has ever had an irate customer is cringing right now. The thought of a dedicated troll deliberately giving the thumbs down to each and every post you make is gut-churning. Couple that with Facebook’s tendency to limit the organic reach content enjoys, and suddenly the most familiar social media platform is starting to look a little perilous.
Don’t freak out just yet. The addition of a Dislike button is, in part, Facebook’s acknowledgement that people have more than one emotion. People can dislike something and yet still be passionately interested in it – consider natural disasters, political upheaval, or even everyday illness and accidents to be in that category. This type of news is shared every day on Facebook, and people wish to stay informed about these events without indicating they’re pleased they’ve occurred. The Dislike button will fill this role, and as such, becomes one more factor in the algorithm Facebook uses to measure content engagement. Content that is disliked is content that is engaged with: it may seem counterintuitive, but that’s part of the metric Facebook uses. The customer who thinks they’re hurting you with Dislike after Dislike may actually be making you look better in Facebook’s eyes.