Business & Economy

Thumbs down: Facebook finally will add a 'dislike' mechanism

This thumbs up or
This thumbs up or "like" icon at the Facebook main campus in Menlo Park, Calif., may soon have a neighbor. Founder Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday that the social network soon would test a long-requested "dislike" type of button.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

You've probably seen it when a friend has posted sad news on Facebook — someone will click the "like" button, then comment to explain that they are not, in fact, pleased with the friend's misfortune.

Soon, there may be a better option. CNBC's report from Tuesday:

"The company's co-founder and chief Mark Zuckerberg revealed the ongoing tests during a question and answer session on Tuesday.

"'People have asked about the 'dislike' button for many years, and probably hundreds of people have asked about this, and today is a special day because today is the day that I actually get to say we are working on it, and are very close to shipping a test of it,' he said."

Watch Zuckerberg's Q&A here:

Townhall Q&A: September 15, 2015

Here’s the video from today’s Townhall Q&A at Facebook. People from around the world asked questions about education, science, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, my future daughter and of course the dislike button. It was great to hear everyone’s questions and feedback. Thanks for watching!

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Zuckerberg said that testing would begin soon, and that the feature would be less a way to voice opposition to a post than to express empathy with a friend, CNBC reported.

The Facebook founder had said in December that he was considering the feature but had concerns, Slate reported at the time:

"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."

Cyberbullying has been one of the company's past concerns in implementing a dislike feature. It's been a big challenge for Facebook in the past, NPR's Emily Siner reported in 2013, and might have contributed to teens' stronger interest in other social networks.

But a dislike-type button has finally been given a green light, and — regardless of the eventual format — should provide useful fodder for Facebook's algorithm for curating your news, reports Time.

"So what will a Dislike button do to Facebook? It could become a sadder place, as less rosy content will be better able to compete with adorable pet photos and ice bucket challenges. But in the long term, showing users a wider variety of things they deeply care about will only keep them coming back to Facebook."

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