16 Sep 2015

Facebook: what’s not to like?

It’s a thoroughly modern conundrum: your Facebook friend suffers a personal tragedy, you want to express sympathy, or outrage, or some other emotion. You hover over the “like” button…. but it just seems wrong.

Facebook has finally listened to its users and is “working on shipping a test” of a “dislike” button.

There’s one group of Facebook users who might not be giving the thumbs up to the idea: marketers.


For these modern Mad Men, Facebook is a treasure trove of potential customer data. They litter our news feed with their eye-catching photos, funny videos and carefully-honed catchlines, and all we can do is like them, or fume in silence. (You can reject individual adverts, but your disapproval isn’t shared publicly).

I’m sure some in the marketing world will argue that the ability for consumers to tell a company we actively dislike them is a “welcome insight into user sentiment”.

I’m equally sure that for the poor bods who actually run Facebook campaigns for big brands, the prospect of a client phoning several times a day to complain about how many people hate their expensive promo video will be as welcome as a sandwich full of body hair.

And it’s not just the public who’ll be using this new-found power: it’s brands’ competitors too. If you run Expensive Trainers Ltd, wouldn’t you tell your team to make sure Pricey Trainers Ltd gets as many dislikes as possible? Or maybe hire a company to do just that?

We’ve already exposed the black market in Facebook likes. How long until we see a similar market emerging for the potentially more damaging dislike button?

For a platform like Facebook, that is built largely on advertising money, a “dislike” button would be a brave move indeed.

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2 reader comments

  1. Henryk Matysiak says:

    The truth of the matter is that Facebook has always ignored the negative side of what they do. They have never sought to find out how many people would or do respond negatively to any issues raised on their website. I do know from my own experience that there are many people of a similar mind who no longer spend any of their own valuable time delving into Facebook any more. I will be surprised if they are actually brave enough to introduce this “dislike” button.

    Anyway, who cares?

  2. Jamie says:

    I don’t think this will go down well as a whole, especially for personal pages and pages for small community projects and groups, because it can be easily exploited by hate groups and online troll rings.

    I have been targeted by such groups for a long time, but I try not to think about such ill-minded people because there are those who pledge their support for the positive things.

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