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How the New 'Dislike' Button Could Change Facebook

Thumbs up, thumbs down, our thumbs are the only way we can emote any more.

by Joel Golby
16 September 2015, 12:35pm

I did this, so no picture credit necessary. Took a good hour, hour-and-a-half in Photoshop.

Facebook has finally announced that it is going to introduce the Dislike button, which is good, because now we can hate things we see on the internet with a single click. So much less time-consuming than starting a 38 Degrees petition, isn't it? So much less work than starting and populating a hashtag on Twitter. I, for one, as a lazy man full of loathing, welcome this change.

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Let us consider the Like button, a button that many of you perhaps have clicked on in your lifetime – maybe when you saw someone announce a new job but you were too jealous to leave a true from-the-heart congratulatory comment, or when someone said "had a great birthday! thanks for the messages!" and you forgot to actually leave a message, so you do a guilty little Like to say, "I saw this," to say, "I acknowledge your birthday," to say, "although I'm not quite sure I know you enough to actually say happy birthday, you know? Seems a little intimate. Like we only met once, at a music festival, and we had that weird sex where halfway through the tent collapsed, and I managed to finish but you didn't" – because the Like button finally has a yin to its yang, a Lex Luthor to its Superman, a Tottenham to its Arsenal. Where previously there was light, there is now the possibility of dark.

Is this a good thing? Will we, humanity, ultimately end up disliking this decision? Will it eventually drive us all against each other, in a mad bid to classify things as only likeable and unlikeable? Only time will tell.

Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement during a Q&A event at Facebook HQ in California yesterday, saying the Dislike button was "very close" to being ready for testing after overwhelming user demand. "People have asked about the 'dislike' button for many years," he zucked. "Probably hundreds of people have asked about this, and today is a special day because today is the day that I actually get to say we are working on it, and are very close to shipping a test of it." He genuinely sounds excited about a button that lets you say "no". Imagine being Mark Zuckerberg. Imagine being that much of a nerd.

Anyway: we are facing a new dawn, people. We are close to living in a world where we never have to see a "wish there was a dislike button so i could dislike this!!!!" comment in a thread about someone's breakup ever again. Some worries:

— My major concern, as always, is for hide-in-plain-sight racist Facebook pages, because if anyone has made their castle on the sand of the "LIKE and SHARE if u RESPECT ARE TROOPS, I bet most of u won't have the GUTS" Facebook viral format, it is them. How muddied and confused will things get when you throw the third element of the Dislike button into the patriotic pancake batter? How will we respect our soldiers now?

— The Dislike button is, essentially, heaven sent for people who leave those constant "feeling sad..." Facebook statuses. You know the ones: the first comment is "u ok hun?" and the reply is "can't say on here...", and then it's all followed up with a passive-aggressive "no hu ur real friends are" status, and then it goes neatly into one of those "having a Facebook friend PURGE, if u are reading this U SURVIVED but some weren't so lucky, remember REAL FRIENDS commuiicaten with each other, not just having u on here to make ur friends list number BIGGER, not arsed with that, not impressed with that, REMEMBER UF U ARE STILL HERE I AM WATCHING U". Them ones are going to go mad for the Dislike button. They've been praying for this day.

— There is only Like and Dislike now, they have crushed the concept of ambivalence. Where once there was "Like" and "emotionless inaction", now everything must be measured against the yardstick of whether we like it or not, a thumbs up or a thumbs down, each of us all Roman emperors, Facebook the Gladiatorial ring, a viral video of "Why You Always Lyin" the bloodied fighter on the floor, and slowly, with a precise move and click of the mouse, we decide: kill, or let live. Where is the "Eh, I Can't Decide" dismissive hand gesture? Where is the "Unsure" button? Where is the grey area? This is the internet, a place where only polar extremes are allowed to exist.

— Oh my fucking God, can you imagine the arguments that are going to go on when people accidentally click "Dislike" on, like, a pregnancy announcement? People are going to go over to each other's houses in a radge and stab each other through the heart. There are going to be deaths. There are going to be fatalities. This is the end of the world.

Extreme relevant NOISEY link: IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT – There Is Now A Full Length Version of Why You Always Lying

This is, of course, all just knee-jerk hyperbole – remember last week, when everyone thought the new Google logo was the end of the world? Kind of used to it now, aren't we? It's sort of like, better? – and the Dislike button is technically meant to be used "empathetically", The Zuck going on to explain it's less a "downvote" button and more to show empathy on sad posts where Like felt insensitive.

Still, who knows how it's going to be used when unleashed to the insane clicking fingers of the masses. The masses don't know what is good or not. The masses, remember, like Minions. The Dislike button will squirm and shapeshift and be forged anew in the hands of Facebook's Candy Crush-playing core, and there's nothing you can do about it. Nothing you can do beyond move your little mouse pointer over and hover in between the gulf and decide: Yes, or No? Good, or Evil? Like, or Dislike?

@joelgolby

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