There has been much speculation, scam and persuasion for Facebook to have a “Dislike” button to complement the very popular (and now indispensable) “Like” feature. Facebook itself boasts of 3,309,750 “Likes” for the “Dislike Button” Page.
Facebook has consistently maintained silence on this issue and we haven’t heard of the possibility of a “Dislike” button yet. And I feel we never will…..
The Good old Social structure:
Imagine a group of friends. We can expect every general group of friends to have the following very strong personality elements:
The Leader – loved and respected by all, he is the one everyone turns to when they want help. It is his approval they all consciously or unconsciously seek, and they all want to get associated with him.
The Social Weakling – underconfident and insecure, he relies on his friends (especially the Leader) for a lot of things. But he gets by with a little help from his group of friends
The other members are just a mixture of these personalities in varying proportions, with each side – weak and strong getting dominant or dormant depending on the situation. Everything is working well, till the time a third type enters the group
The Bully – Rude and arrogant, he usually thrives on the weak, and brings negative feedback along, wherever he goes.
If not kept in check (by the leader of course), the bully can ruin the entire group dynamic. The worst hit would be the Social Weakling – negative reactions, disparaging comments and pressure can shatter his confidence. Even his friends, instead of supporting him, would now put themselves first (even compete against him) when it comes to avoiding the Bully’s wrath. Positive reinforcement from the Leader would also be of limited use – if the Weakling does not have the strength to face the Bully, his social status takes a huge blow.
What Facebook did to the structure:
Today, a person’s Online Image is increasingly coinciding with his Offline or Real Self. Consequently, his popularity is being identified with the number of “Likes” he gets on his posts. So people naturally obsess with the number of “Likes” they get to make themselves socially more desirable. We all know people who get upset merely because their posts got lesser number of “Likes” as compared to someone else.
These are like the Social Weaklings from our hypothetical story, and the “Like” button – the Leader.
The new age Cyber-Bullies:
Introducing a “Dislike” button would be like adding a Bully to the group of friends – the Weaklings would be overwhelmed by the negative feedback – if not shatter them, it would at least demotivate them from signing on to Facebook or maybe even persuade them to get off it – not something Mr. Zuckerberg would like!
The case of Organisations is even worse – companies anyway lose sleep over not having enough “Likes” on their Website or Facebook page, a “Dislike” button would be nothing less than a nightmare! One unfavourable experience of a customer might leave a permanent Red Mark (a “Dislike”) on their Report Card. Moreover, it is very easy to tarnish a competitor’s reputation by asking your family, friends and colleagues to “Dislike” their page – this will become increasingly important in the future, when validating a company’s service would be akin to go though their Facebook page (somewhat like how potential employees are validated through LinkedIn).
Sure you can still give negative feedback through comments, but
“Dislikes” gives a tangible Number to quantify it like an IMDB rating.
“Dislike” –ing something would take 2 seconds, whereas writing a comment takes much more time and effort
Negative feedback can go viral very easily and one “Dislike” might trigger many more!
It clearly adds a lot of Negativity to Facebook, maybe more than what businesses can handle. That is reason enough to NOT join Facebook. Since advertising revenues of Facebook depend on the amount of participation from companies, the disadvantages of implementing a “Dislike” button far outweigh its perceived benefits.
* Using his purely to maintain flow of though and avoid putting his/her and (S)he everywhere. No gender bias here.