Facebook could unveil a ‘dislike’ button very soon

Company to unveil way to possibly show solidarity, sympathy

- Jessica Guynn USA TODAY

Coming soon to Facebook: a button that lets you express “dislike” or emotions beyond the iconic thumbs up.

Founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg made the announceme­nt Tuesday during a Q&A session streamed live online from Facebook headquarte­rs in Menlo Park, Calif.

Facebook had resisted creating a “dislike” button as a companion to its “like” button, fearing it would sow seeds of discontent on the world’s most popular social network. But in recent years Zuckerberg softened his stance, responding to popular demand from Facebook users who say “like” does not fit certain status updates and situations, say a death in the family or a crisis.

“It’s important to give people more options than just ‘like’ ” to help express empathy and sympathy, Zuckerberg said. “Not every moment is a good moment.”

Zuckerberg said Facebook is close to unveiling the “dislike” button. What may happen is that Facebook unveils a “sympathize” button or a series of buttons that convey support or solidarity or express other similarly positive emotions. The giant social network encourages civil interactio­ns among its 1.5 billion users.

Facebook said in an emailed statement: “We have nothing to share beyond Mark’s comments today.”

The possibilit­y of a “dislike” button popped up last December during another Q&A session. In response to a question, Zuckerberg said: “We’re thinking about it.”

But he made it clear that Facebook was proceeding cautiously.

“Some people have asked for a dislike button because they want to say, ‘That thing isn’t good.’ And that’s not something that we think is good for the world. So we’re not going to build that,” Zuckerberg said at the time.

The idea is one that for years has been debated inside Facebook. In 2013, Facebook engineers designed a “sympathize” button during a hackathon.

What Facebook is trying to avoid: the less cordial, more negative interactio­ns, such as up voting and down voting that take place on services such as Reddit. Facebook also does not want to discourage people from sharing or liking as freely as they do now on Facebook.

That stance was echoed in the response on question-and-answer service Quora from a Facebook engineer in 2012 on why Facebook did not have a “dislike” button. “I don’t think there are many users who are dying to have their own content disliked,” the engineer wrote.

 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
GETTY IMAGES CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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