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Adding a new layer for showing appreciation, Facebook ignores users' desire for a Dislike button
To "like" something is quickly becoming the most encouraged gesture across Facebook as the social networking juggernaut late Wednesday added comments on the list of actions to respond to.
Previously, the Like function was only available as an alternative to commenting on a piece of content. Users could easily show they saw and enjoyed a photo or status update - without typing a thing - by just clicking "Like." If they changed their mind at any point, instead of deleting a posted comment, they simply clicked "Unlike."
Adding a completely new layer to the site, Likes have been extended from just status updates, photos, etc. to comments posted on status updates, photos, etc. As expected, users receive a notification when their comment has been Liked. Facebook has not made it clear whether Likes on comments will factor prominently into the News Feed.
Offering an explanation for how Likes on comments should be used, Facebook software engineer Tom Whitnah writes, "Whether it's a witty remark, a great point in a discussion or a helpful answer to someone's question, clicking the 'Like' button within comments now makes it simple to show your appreciation for all types of content on Facebook."
Well, almost all types of content. When are we going to be able to Like Likes? I ask this mostly in jest because it's clear that adding such functionality would probably complicate sharing and consuming content on Facebook for the worse. But it is possible.
And what about all those times users want to do the opposite of showing appreciation?
If comments on Whitnah's blog post are representative at all of the general Facebook population, then what they really want is a "Dislike" function, which would add a perfect counterpoint to the currently existing Like button. While Facebook might concerned about adding a tinge of negativity to its family fun social network, the site's developers should consider that sometimes it would be more polite to Dislike a status update. For example, if a cousin posts that their hamster died. Or if a friend says they scored poorly on a test.
Paul Buchheit of FriendFeed and Gmail fame explained the origin of the Like last month:
"We created the ‘Like’ feature in FriendFeed because I realized that people wanted an easy way to let others know that they saw what their friends posted and appreciated it. Putting in those simple little gestures is very powerful.”
So what about the Dislike feature for showing disappointment?
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