In Your Facebook

3 mins. to read
In Your Facebook

The Dislike button is coming to Facebook [FB]. There seems to be a lot of ideas about what this means. Zuckerberg said that it’s an ‘empathy’ button, the idea being that if your friend posts a status update that their granddad has died you can ‘dislike’ instead of ‘like’, which to be fair, liking such a post has always seemed a bit counter-intuitive. He’s also keen not to turn posts into a popularity contest, with the sort of voting up/down options that are popular on many sites. Although liking, and disliking, things is a bit of a grey area, because, as I’ve written here before, I am delighted by disasters, both natural and otherwise, from a purely ‘trading opportunity’ perspective.

But could a ‘dislike’ button be abused? Well it’s not set in stone that it will be a ‘dislike’ button specifically. It’s equally possible that it could be a few Emoji options, and five of these emoticons are reckoned to cover most possible human responses (smiley, wink-smiley, surprise, sadness and heart).

Assuming it is, in fact, a ‘dislike’ button simply mirroring the ‘like’ button then what are the ramifications? There have been suggestions that 10 dislikes could have a post removed. All sorts of problems with that. If other users are able to instigate the deletion of your own posts from your own Facebook page then in the US alone they’ll run the risk of denying people’s First Amendment right to freedom of expression. There’s another potential pitfall in that it would be quite easy to persecute people of a different mind-set, and really, it would be a perfect ready-made kit for school bullying. Although bullying is most effectively countered by confronting bullies and making things uncomfortable for them, not by the ‘sticking plaster’ approach of modifying the world around them. Most bullies are weak and opportunistic and fade away at the first sign of confrontation.

If it could lead to removal of posts then it would then also be a ‘logical fallacy’ button, in this case Shoot The Messenger. I’ve been unfriended on many occasions for simply stating a fact. Most recently, pointing out to an American lawyer, that generally, the British attitude to having a shrink is: ok if you’ve got mental health problems, or had a recent trauma, but otherwise it’s just a self-indulgent chat and a bit of ‘you’ time. She accused me of generalising, even though I had specifically stated that I was generalising, and of perpetuating stereotypes. I certainly wouldn’t want her representing me in court since that resulted in an instant unfriending without the opportunity to defend myself! Worthy of note that Facebook users have their own buttons you can push too.

If the button is used as an arbiter to remove posts then it would save Facebook the bother of monitoring them, or pretending they monitor posts. Oddly enough Facebook is a pretty faceless entity if you ever try to get in touch with them.

So, will this draw more people into the Facebook fold? Facebook is basically in online advertising. Their only revenue comes from selling it. Obviously the more people are drawn to engage with their site the more revenue they can make. It’s hard to say how big of a deal the ‘dislike’ button is. Advertisers wouldn’t like it used against them. Some people may leave because of it – I certainly would if there’s a mechanism to censor my own posts on my own page. They’re not idiots at Facebook so they must know that.


The stock has basically been in a very intact uptrend with only one bump in that there was a 25% fall in August when markets fell, but it has recovered almost all of that loss, unlike the markets themselves. So it’s a fragile stock, and if this is a lower high then it could easily fall again when markets do. It’s presently popped sideways out of the cloud, that means it’s technically bullish, but it’s a bit of a mixed message since it didn’t really go up out of the cloud, more limped out sideways. I’d be waiting for another market fall though, because Facebook seems to overreact and recover very quickly from market instability. Why ponce about in uncertainty, just wait for the big drops and trade the swings! It’s quite a trending stock with clear signals.

Sooner or later someone will start a proper place for uncensored debate, and perhaps they’ll call it In Your Facebook, but until then: ‘like’.

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *