First of all, from a philosophical point of view, not everything in life is positive, so expressing negativity is part of our real world. In addition, since not everyone is always on the same side, why should we give voice only to people who like a post, and ignore everyone else? Shouldn’t we show appreciation to everyone’s participation instead of forcing people to ignore content they dislike?
Many people are afraid that the introduction of a dislike button on Facebook, as a counter to the like button, will result to an increase of bullying. I certainly disagree with that perspective (I dislike it, if you prefer). Why? Because bullies are already expressing themselves on Facebook, the absence of an “official” disapproval button, so far, hasn’t stopped their disrespectful behaviour, not to mention that down-voting is a very limited form of expression, compared to a comment for example.
On the marketing side of the story brands should be aiming for a dislike button. You might think that marketers will be terrified at the sight of the first disapproval. Seriously? Managers are already terrified by angry users that post comments or make fun of their products publicly. Is a simple button going to introduce negativity to an otherwise positive-only eco-system? No! Negative remarks and criticism are already a big part of Facebook’s content.
A dislike button has the potential to become a great way to evaluate and improve content and promotional campaigns. Every Facebook page manager is already listening to the crowd on Facebook by analysing which post did better and why it brought more visitors to the website compared to another. A dislike button will bring extra data and consequently give deeper insight to brand managers that want to improve by interacting with their most valued stakeholder, customers. We are way past the times of asymmetrical communication when brands spoke and customers were just listening. We shall let the customers be heard for the shake of progress.
Unfortunately though, Facebook isn’t taking such a bold move. The dislike button it is considering, is nothing like Youtube’s thumbs up - thumbs down buttons. It will only be used to express empathy. Meaning, that the like button will be replaced by a dislike button depending on the content of a post (You won’t have to press “like” on a sad post for example). Although that long awaited introduction of a dislike button, makes Facebook seem flexible, adjusting its functions to the users’ content, something good, it won’t go a bit further allowing the users to decide themselves which button is suitable for their own content, but this will be decided by some sort of algorithm with no control by the one posting (at least that’s the plan for now).