If your Facebook friend list is anything like mine, I can bet you have a friend who likes to bore the world with his/her extremely mundane personal updates “I’m brushing my teeth.” “I had Mana’eesh for breakfast.” “I’m bored at work.” “I’m stuck in traffic on Tahlia Street.” How fascinating! No moment is too mundane for some people to broadcast unsolicited to the world. Just because you have 356 Facebook friends doesn’t mean we all want to know when you’re waiting in line at Starbucks!
How irritating is the Chronic Inviter “Support my cause? Sign my petition. Play Candy Crush with me. Which ‘Friends’ character are you?” or the Excessive Hashtag User #please #stop #no #seriously #stop #it Oh and don’t even get me started on the excessive PDA supporter whose updates make me go “ew” because they seem artificially sappy. “I love you, حبيبة قلبي.” “I would be nothing without you, يالخفوق.” “You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me, بيبى.” It’s PDA 2.0. Plus, whenever I read posts like that, I instinctively read them in my baby-voice and that makes me cringe.
I don’t mean to be rude but let’s face it. Some people on your timeline can be just plain annoying. And that’s when you desperately wish that Facebook had a ‘dislike’ button, so you could let the world know how you really feel.
Dear God, Let This Rumor Be True
I was quite glad when I heard the rumors that Facebook was considering launching the Dislike button. I had already shortlisted the friends whose updates would be honored with my first 10 dislikes. You! Yes, You! With the “Please Like this picture to save the child dying from cancer!” and You, with your “Send me lives on Candy Crush” requests. I really wanted to Dislike your posts and tell you (politely, of course) to get a life outside of the game. I was praying fervently for this rumor to be true. But alas! The world is not a wish granting factory! All my hopes were crushed when I read a statement by Facebook’s ex-CTO and creator of the LIKE button, Bret Taylor, that Facebook will probably never have the dislike button.
Haters Gonna Hate
Taylor explained that a Dislike button would draw too much unwanted negativity to Facebook. While some people might use it to express sympathy, for example, it could also encourage cyberbullying, something for which the site often comes under criticism.
“[The Dislike button] came up a lot. In fact, even the language of the word ‘Like’ was something we discussed a lot as well. But regarding the Dislike button, the main reason is that in the context of the social network, the negativity of that button has a lot of unfortunate consequences.”
If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all
Taylor goes on to explain that the Like button was created for times when users wanted to acknowledge something someone did but didn’t really have anything to say. It isn’t just a sentiment of actually ‘liking’ something, in other words, but rather a replacement for a short comment like ‘wow’ or ‘cool.’
However, he explains, a ‘dislike’ button would never work in the same way and would only encourage bad vibes (writing something hateful is harder than clicking a button and often the act of writing clears up the more spiteful feelings anyway).
“I have the feeling that if there were to be a ‘dislike’ button is that you would end up with these really negative social aspects to it,” Taylor explains. “If you want to dislike something, you should probably write a comment, because there’s probably a word for what you want to say. I’m not saying the ‘like’ button isn’t flawed would it be even more complex with a negative sentiment like ‘dislike’.”
So dear readers, I hate to be the bearer of the bad news but it seems that no matter how many times we sign petitions or join the hundreds of “We want a Dislike button” groups on Facebook, the fact of the matter is that we are never going to get it. Let’s just make our peace with it. For all intents and purposes, the Dislike button would remain an internet myth.