For so long, I have voiced my concerns with Facebook. Mostly because I don’t think the platform is living up to its potential. Facebook is constantly filled with news and information that promote negative reactions. I’m not just talking about fake news or world events, I’m even talking about what your friend posts about her weekend. For me, I have a hard time blocking out the noise to focus on my own goals and the things I should be doing to make my life better. This might come across as jealousy, but it’s really not. Seeing certain posts make me feel like I should be doing more with my life. Or that I should be farther ahead. And while those are great goals, it also makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong, and then I focus on the negative.
When I use any kind of social media, I will see posts highlighting something negative. Child poverty, for example. What I always find interesting is when people “like” or “love” the post. Are they liking the post because it’s raising awareness about that topic? Or are they liking the post because they like the fact that there’s child poverty in the world? My guess is the former, however, the “like” button in these situations seems to confuse people. Which is why I have always thought that Facebook and other social networking platforms should have some kind of “dislike” button. Facebook has always been against this for some reason. Until now.
Facebook is currently testing an alternative with about 2.5% of the US Facebook population. They’re calling it a “Downvote” button. Facebook says:
When tapped, the downvote button hides a comment, and gives users additional reporting options like “Offensive”, “Misleading”, and “Off Topic”. Those could help Facebook figure out if the comment is objectionable, a form of “fake news”, or just irrelevant.
What’s interesting is that your downvote isn’t visible in the post. Which kind of defeats the purpose in my opinion. Facebook thinks that a Dislike button would create a negative atmosphere, and this is why they’ve never done it. They might be right, but they’re also missing out on something that could be major. Which is calling people out on their garbage from time to time. I’m not suggesting that you “dislike” your friends’ beach wedding photos. That would make you a horrendous person. But if someone makes a racist comment, or posts something hateful, why can’t we have the option to “dislike” it?
Perhaps the downvote will give us some of those abilities, but I’m not exactly convinced. Facebook is saying that the motivation behind the downvote button is to create a “lightweight” way for people to signal to Facebook that the comment or image is inappropriate, or misleading. This comes as they are attempting to make the platform more user-friendly. Which is an incredible, and lofty task. Regardless of how this button works, I am in favor of the improvements that Facebook has started to make.