Facebook announces it will shortly roll out some kind of 'dislike' button

Facebook is finally going ahead and introducing a ‘dislike’ button of some kind to sit alongside the traditional ‘like’ button.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced this fact at his latest question and answer session, and said that the system is currently undergoing testing.

CNBC reported that Zuckerberg announced yesterday: “People have asked about the 'dislike' button for many years, and 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.”

It will mean that the 1.5 billion users of Facebook can finally express more than a simple ‘like’ of any given post, as ‘liking’ can certainly seem rather inappropriate in some cases (for example, posts which contain sad content). And from the sounds of it, we won’t have to wait long until the new feature is live.

The implementation will, however, not be a simple thumbs down affair, as Zuckerberg notes that Facebook doesn’t want to create an environment where people down-vote other users’ posts (Reddit style) and create bad feeling as a result. Rather, the expanded functionality will allow for people to express empathy with posts in more detail over and above a ‘like’.

So while Zuckerberg did use the phrase ‘dislike button’, what we’ll actually see is likely to be considerably more sophisticated than this.

Of course, a more nuanced and expanded ‘like/dislike’ system will give Facebook more information on its user base and resulting data to mine and store as well, so the benefits will doubtless cut both ways.