We don’t need no emotion control
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
Recently, Facebook announced they will soon be introducing the long-awaited “dislike” button, the reverse of the ever-loved “like” button. The idea is that users can express empathy in a non-endorsing way for posts where “liking” wouldn’t be appropriate: announcements of a breakup, death, etc. The dislike button has long been rumoured and requested by Facebook users, and several third-party apps have occasionally attempted to introduce one.
We don’t need the dislike button. There’s another way to express sympathy or negative thoughts on Facebook when appropriate—it’s called the comment section. The like button is used to express appreciation, similar to the favourite button on Twitter; it’s completely optional. When expressing sympathy or negative emotions about a situation, commenting is a way to be more personal and heartfelt. “Disliking” a status about Grandma dying is not an adequate substitution for writing a short note of sympathy (or simply not responding to the post from someone you barely know). It’s a way to shorten and trivialize genuine human emotion online.
Then, there’s the bullying aspect. It will be incredibly easy for users to abuse the dislike button to bully others in many different ways. Any posts featuring self-confidence, photos, or other happy things can easily be targeted. A few “dislikes” on someone’s selfie can do serious emotional harm. The dislike button may be the easiest feature to abuse that Facebook has released thus far, particularly because of its simplicity.
Facebook is a social network that we use to communicate, connect, and express ourselves. It has a wide range of opportunities for genuine interaction through its communications. What’s most important is making those communications honest and thorough without breaking everything down into a like/dislike variant. Posts may soon be competing and causing further battles in the comments through likes and dislikes—YouTube, which has a thumbs-up/thumbs-down option, is a prime example. YouTube is already known as a cesspool of anger and negativity, in addition to being an easy place to do cyberbullying within its comments and thumbs-down options. Facebook comments are moderated, but there’s no way to control those pushing the dislike button on an impressionable young girl’s selfie.
The like button has been implemented on Facebook for six years, during which no dislike button was needed (or even wanted by a majority of users). There seems little reason to introduce one now, particularly in an era when miscommunication, online aggression, and bad interaction are more prominent than ever.