When Facebook first started, Mark Zuckerberg intended it to be used as an online simulation of real-life relationships. To his credit, Facebook has become just that. From relationships to catching up with friends, Facebook has taken networking to new levels. Still, Facebook has a ways to go if it intends on being a true online representation of real-life.
The biggest complaint of which is the ability to dislike content on Facebook. Although Facebook allows you to ‘like’ content from your friends, they don’t have an option to ‘dislike’ something. The question then becomes what do you do if you find something so offensive that ‘hide content’ just doesn’t work for you?
Facebook Isn’t MySpace
Take for example MySpace. Although it is still widely considered to be one of the top social networks online, users have migrating away to other sites like Facebook and Twitter. This can be attributed to a multitude of factors, some of which include numerous ‘MySpace Stalkers’ in the news and the lack of content control made evident by the excess number of spammers. While MySpace continues to make strides toward improving their image, the damage has already been done due to their lack of adjustments over the years.
Bringing our attention back to Facebook, it becomes an almost night and day comparison of the two social networks. Not only do we see the problems that are currently plaguing MySpace, but we also see what Facebook could have become.
Facebook could have let users embed music on their profiles and have allowed custom backgrounds, but is that what we want? Would that make the community happy? It may for some, but it has the possibility of bringing about indefinitely more problems. If Facebook wanted to be the new MySpace they would have. Instead, Facebook took a page out of MySpace’s playbook and did everything they should have done.
Keeping It Positive: The Like Button
As much as people want a ‘dislike’ button on Facebook, the fact remains that it could do more bad than good. If Facebook were to create the ‘dislike’ button, everyone’s social network would change more than people think.
Currently, with the Facebook ‘like’ button, it allows users to ‘like’ updates and content from their friends. By having this feature, it creates a positive feel throughout the community and can also be used as way to show support. Facebook thrives off of presenting itself as a ‘positive’ environment. By introducing the ‘dislike’ button, users can then dislike everything from photos to relationships which would ultimately lead to conflict. Now the argument can be made that this would be a rare scenario, but the truth is that it probably wouldn’t. With no rules on what or when you can dislike, abuse of the ‘dislike’ button is almost guaranteed. Feelings will get hurt and a negative environment will be created.
“Dislike” Without A Button
Many may still insist that a Facebook ‘dislike’ button is necessary, but Facebook already has systems in place that allow you to deal with situations that you may deem ‘dislike-able.’
If you don’t like what someone shares or posts, changing how you view their updates is one of the most immediate options you have on Facebook. By doing so, you are limiting what you see and theoretically, ignoring their updates. While the downside to this is that you can’t just ignore individual updates, it does provide an alternative to offensive content.
Another alternative is to change your privacy settings for certain users. While this may not directly deal with the problem, it does narrow down your network and also gives you options on how friendly you want to be with your network.
Close Your Eyes
If these options still don’t work for you, there is one last option: ignore them. Yes, closing your eyes or just scrolling past their update can be in some cases, your best bet.
Facebook Dislike Plugin
Although Facebook hasn’t officially created a ‘dislike’ button, that hasn’t stopped developers from creating a Facebook Dislike add-on for Facebook on Mozilla. After installing the plugin, users are not only able to ‘like’ things, but now able to ‘dislike’ as well. The catch for this is that in order for others to see it, they have to have the add-on installed as well.
To date, there has been over 360,000 downloads of the add-on. It is important to note that the number of downloads doesn’t equal the number currently active so it is hard to determine exactly how popular or un-popular it is.
If Facebook is supposed to be an online representation of our real-life relationships, then something we have to ask ourselves is if we would tell someone that we didn’t like something they said in person? Many of us would probably say no, and that is just what Facebook is banking on.