Facebook is working on a dislike button, founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced early on Tuesday.
Zuckerberg made the remark during a Q&A session “town hall” at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. that was streamed on the web.
Facebook has resisted creating a “dislike” button as a companion to its “like” button but is now 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.
Facebook said in an emailed statement: “We have nothing to share beyond Mark’s comments today.”
Last December when asked about a “dislike” button, Zuckerberg said: “We’re thinking about it.”
“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.
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 people to be discouraged from sharing or liking as freely as they do now on Facebook.
In 2012, a Facebook engineer responded to why Facebook did not have a “dislike” button on the question-and-answer service Quora.
“While many users love the idea of Facebook adding a dislike button, I don’t think there are many users who are dying to have their own content disliked,” the engineer wrote. “Like music that auto-plays on profiles or the ability to have animated profile backgrounds, there are many things users want for themselves, but don’t enjoy when given to others in their social network. While there are posts where a dislike button could be used to express sympathy or commiseration, I would estimate that the vast majority of its uses will be just ambiguous negativity that would be demoralizing to the poster.”
From what Zuckerberg said Tuesday, Facebook is unlikely to roll out a “dislike” button but may instead choose a button that conveys support or sympathy.