It’s never going to happen.
If there’s one Facebook rumor that absolutely refuses to die, it’s that a dislike button might someday appear on the site.
No matter how many times Mark Zuckerberg says he will never, ever make one, at least once a year, it seems, a fresh rumor picks up steam. This time, rumors were stoked when it was discovered that the social network is doing a small test of a thumbs down reaction inside of Messenger.
At last, right? Not quite.
Facebook confirmed the test is real, but this doesn’t mean we’re any closer to getting anything resembling an actual dislike button.
For one, calling Messenger’s thumbs down emoji the equivalent of a “dislike” is a bit of a stretch. Unlike Facebook’s reactions, emoji in Messenger aren’t labeled. And even if they were, adding a “dislike” to a message in a private conversation is entirely different than doing so on a Facebook post.
Dig into the rest of Zuckerberg’s answer, and you’ll learn they never seriously thought about adding “dislike” to Facebook. An actual dislike option would be too negative and likely used for bullying, he said.
Zuckerberg has maintained that anything other than a “like” needs to be about creating empathy. “We need to figure out the right way to do it so it ends up being a force for good, not a force for bad,” the CEO said in the same interview.
That was the basis for reactions, the revamped like button Facebook introduced last year. Instead of just liking, you can react with “love,” “haha,” “wow,” “sad,” and “angry”but not “dislike.” And while Facebook hasn’t ruled out adding more reactions in the future, you can be sure that “dislike” (or anything overtly negative) will never make the shortlist.
After all, it could easily devolve into the trolling upvoting/downvoting dynamic that plays out on Reddit and so many other social platforms, not to mention Facebook’s advertisers would probably hate it.
Zuckerberg wants Facebook to save the world. “Disliking” is not part of the vision.
Or, as Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore summed it up in 2010 (did I mention this is the rumor that refuses to die?): “Like buttons are about connection; Dislike buttons are about division.”