Facebook is working on a new feature that you and a host of its users have requested for years: a dislike button. Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been reluctant to add this feature for very specific reasons. The internet can be a very unfriendly place with all sorts of users writing ugly comments.
Facebook is genuinely one of the few social media websites where you are likely to find less of that ugliness and more encouraging commentary. On the other hand, the traditional like button just isn’t suitable for every status update. it just doesn’t feel right to “like” an update your best friend posted about his mother dying or his wife having a miscarriage.
The format of this dislike button is unclear. The real idea of this button is to express empathy on posts with unpleasant news. Mark Zuckerberg explains “If you’re sharing something that is sad, whether it’s something in current events, like the refugee crisis, or if a family member passed away, then it may not feel comfortable to ‘like’ that post.”
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Therefore to help people express those sentiments, it is imperative that there be more options. Mark Zuckerberg also added “We didn’t want to just build a dislike button because we don’t want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts.”
So what will this new feature mean for businesses?
People will be able to publicly display their reactions towards businesses. Whether that’s good or bad is yet to be determined. Several marketing experts give their insights on the potential impact of the dislike button.
Katy Keim, lithium
Generally speaking, I’m concerned the new dislike concept will lead to more bad behavior than good – vitriol or bullying or worse. I don’t think everything needs to be rainbows and ponies, but the potential to so quickly express negative comments could bring out our worst selves.
At Lithium, I view the thumbs up (and thumbs down) behaviors as online gamification principles – which means we should use these activities to motivate the right behaviors and while Facebook sees this as motivating “empathy,” unfortunately I don’t believe that will be the end result.
Ultimately this move benefits Facebook more than brands. They don’t own the experience, Facebook does. While brands may see number of likes vs. dislikes, Facebook will have access to a significant amount of more in-depth data about users as a result of this. How much they are willing to share with brands who manage pages on Facebook will be interesting.
Lynette Young, Claim Wizard
Lynette is currently co-founder and Director of Marketing at ClaimWizard. She also works as a marketing technology specialist and a business strategist with focus on digital publishing and implementation services.
I don’t feel the “dislike” button affects (or SHOULD affect) marketers at all on Facebook because it is really being designed to show compassion and support for status updates such as illness or losing a family member. Of course if the Facebook API is opened up to disclose the dislike button a slew of marketers could target (prey?) on those in sad situations.
Nate Elliot, Forrester Research
If this new feature is just about expressing empathy and solidarity, as Zuckerberg indicated it might, then it likely won”t have much of an impact on people”s relationships with brands. (Do you know many cases where people feel motivated to express empathy for a brand?)
But if it allows people to express a broader range of emotions, that could be useful. For one thing, brands would be tempted to count the number of people who “like” and “love” and “respect” them and use that data as a success metric (though the data would likely be meaningless for measurement, in the same way social sentiment data has little correlation with brand satisfaction data).
More importantly, it could one day let marketers target fans based on those fans relationships with the brand. Today, most people’s Facebook interactions with brands are binary: you either like a company or you don’t. But what if Delta could deliver one message to flyers who genuinely love the company and a different message to people who may not love the brand but still fly regularly and need to stay up-to-date with the company? That could be powerful.
Jan Rezab, Socialbakers
First of all, it’s not a “dislike” button. I am sure you saw the original footage, where it’s more of just a different sympathetic emotion. Facebook still is a positive platform, and we don’t exactly know what it will shape like. Will it replace the like button for that particular post? Will it be extra? They probably won’t want to confuse the mobile experience. It might be different based on either TEXT or “FEELING” (the smiley face). We will see.
Kevan Lee, Buffer
More ways to engage with a post on Facebook feels like an exciting step for me. The more a marketer can know about how his/her messages are received on Facebook, the better those messages can become. Knowledge and data are hugely helpful in iterating on strategies and this coming change feels like Facebook could be giving marketers more of both.
Just as these experts have said, what is your take on Facebook’s empathy button and its potential impact on businesses and social media marketing? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
In Post Credit:?naradha.in