One of the fundamental issues of social media, for both good and for ill, is that it brings us uncomfortably close. Twenty years ago, you could ignore your racist aunt Edna as she held forth on the Zionist conspiracy because you saw her twice a year; now the tiresome old biddy can basically follow you around with a megaphone, and you feel socially obligated to let her. But there was no good way to tell her exactly what you thought… until, apparently, now.
Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that Facebook is building a Dislike button, or at least something similar to it. Why? Because user demand overwhelmed even the most squishy of Facebook’s warm fuzzies, by which we mean the cold, calculating nature of its marketing department to not become Reddit. That said, you won’t be able to nuke Edna from space with just a click:
However, Facebook does recognize that people sometimes want to express something other than “liking,” but are currently left with no truly good option. “What they really want is the ability to express empathy. Not every moment is a good moment,” said Zuckerberg.
In other words, what we more or less predicted this time last year. Facebook isn’t going to outright let you cyber-slap the hell out of people, especially not considering the site’s ongoing harassment problem is so severe the courts are stepping in. But they are going to let you actually express a range of emotion outside the comments.
That said, we’d like to see them boot up the Dislike button on April Fool’s Day. Or create a policy where you have to pay $1 to dislike a person, status, or page, with the money going to charity. We could probably cure cancer based on dislikes of Trump and Nickelback alone.