Ever since the inception of Facebook- one of the biggest social media platforms , there has been a lot requests and public discussions of the platforms potential features such as the ‘like’, comment, share, among others. Recently, the main discussion has been about the viability of having a dislike button for the platform.
Users have been pushing for a dislike option ever since the ‘Like’ itself was implemented. Facebook has even at different times, toyed with the idea of coming up with a way for users to voice their disagreement with certain posts and/or comments. Actually Facebook’s last experiment with an option for people to voice their disagreement on the platform was done in 2018 with the upvote/downvote option for comments. The option was intended to lessen the impact of comments made with ‘bad intentions’. However the experiment didn’t exactly work out because the option disappeared after just two weeks.
So, do you think that the dislike button is a viable option for Facebook like it’s been used on YouTube? Can it benefit its users? Can it improve the overall Facebook experience?
Let’s face it; with over 2.32 billion monthly active users (MAU) as of December 31, 2018, the platform is bound to have all kinds of people. The optimists, pessimists, the cantankerous individuals, the religious fanatics, the purveyors of falsehoods, journalists, I mean the list is endless. You could probably get all Sigmund Freud’s personality types on the platform (and even more undiscovered or undefined).
While some may use the platform constructively by keeping in touch with friends and families or promoting a business, there are those users who misuse the platform giving it a bad reputation. These are the radicalized individuals who do their recruitment’s via the platform, the rumor mongers, and the political extremists etc., who use Facebook’s broad reach to spread their misguided guided and ill intended notions.
So just how can the dislike option on Facebook help enhance the reputation of Facebook? Easy, here is how. The following are Potential ways where the usage of the dislike button could greatly benefit the Facebook platforms.
Make people think Twice about what they post
Consider a scenario where a generally ignorant, racist, bigoted person has posted or commented something obscene on Facebook. Out of his 5000 followers, the post offends and angers 4000 people. However when scrolling through the timeline, you see the post has 1000 likes from like-minded individuals. This creates the illusion that the idea is popular among people, which is not the case because there’s a lack of balance without the effort of commenting and getting involved in an argument. With the option of a dislike button such a post would have 1K likes but 4K dislikes, which would tell people that the post has an unpopular viewpoint, prompting people to think twice about what they say, or take a rain check on their attitudes.
Minimize the spread of fake news and misinformation
There are very many people on the Facebook platform who are notorious in spreading falsehoods and misinforming other users. These are the people who normally hit the share button without verifying the authenticity of a post, those who say disparaging things to ruin others reputation and even those who are privy to giving out wrong information for the sake of sounding smart and perspicacious to their peers (The Lumumba wannabes).
Currently, people will often use the ‘Angry Emoji’ to show their displeasure at a fake news post, but ‘Angry’ could just as easily insinuate that you’re angry about the content itself, not the validity of it. However with the dislike button, if a user shares a fake news story, you could use the option to indicate that that angle is incorrect. It could help make unpopular angles clearer, in their wider societal context, and may help reduce their spread.
Well, there are clearly potential concerns that may prevent the applicability of the dislike option on Facebook. These are issues such as ‘downvote mobs’ who attack certain content in droves to reduce its perceived popularity, often without even reading or analyzing the content of the post itself. Be that as it may, I think it’s a wonderful option that can greatly enhance the overall Facebook experience.
It’s an option that’s long been debated, both by users and Facebook itself, and who knows, it may come to be a reality in the future. Or maybe not. Only time will tell.