After years of rejecting the idea, Mark Zuckerberg officially disclosed that a Facebook Dislike button is, indeed, coming soon to the social network.
But, it’s probably not going to be for you to trash your ex’s new pics.
Zuck stated as late as December of 2014 that he does see a need for people to express emotions outside of a simple “Like”; however, the company needed to be careful to not be a catalyst for spreading negativity by users “disliking” other people’s pictures, for example. Instead, the company realizes that users often feel strange about “liking” certain posts — such as those that are controversial or sad (the death of a loved one, for instance).
While a Facebook Dislike button wouldn’t really suite those types of posts specifically — it’s likely we may see other “emoticons” available for tragic or emotional responses at some point — there is one feature on Facebook that will probably be helped most by the Dislike:
The Facebook NewsFeed.
Up until a few years ago, posts on Facebook’s NewsFeed were shown by recency. However, as the social network grew, showing all of your friend’s posts by most recent became unrealistic; at this point, the company took an algorithmic approach to the NewsFeed (as Business Page owners are painfully familiar).
Currently, every time someone logs into Facebook, the NewsFeed algorithm decides which posts to show first by using historic interactions data: posts similar to those you’ve hit Like on in the past, or those posts made by friends you interact with the most, are likely to show up near the top.
Therefore, a Facebook Dislike button could serve as yet another input their algorithm uses to determine which posts will likely be most relevant.
This Dislike data, in turn, could conceivably be applied to advertisers on Facebook as well. While at this point, there’s no concrete word that the company will stick Dislike buttons on ads themselves (though, I can’t see why they wouldn’t), data from users’ Dislikes could arm advertisers with more data on the types of content people respond either positively or negatively to.
Considering how much press this announcement by Zuckerberg received, there’s likely to be additional information on the Facebook Dislike button coming at us over the next few months. In the meantime, what would you like to see Facebook do with Dislikes?