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Facebook's Dislike Button - What does this mean for brands?

When Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg said: "people have asked about the 'dislike' button for many years. 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." a lot of people were celebrating. The idea of a dislike button, the opposite of the like button currently available on Facebook, is welcomed by many people.

When it comes to Social Media etiquette, the like button has caused confusion for some, when it comes to 'liking' statuses or content when the topic matter is sad, or needs to be met with a reaction of empathy. 'Liking' someone's status when they've announced that they are unwell or they've lost a loved one isn't something people feel comfortable doing, and therefore has meant an alternative to the like button has been requested time and time again.

Some people have worried about a dislike button being rolled out, saying that it could encourage bullying, or negative responses. People would feel less inclined to post on social media, if a thumbs down could be given to the post.

Wired magazine and many other tech related publications don't believe that Zuckerberg will roll out a thumbs-down 'dislike' button. In fact, they think it'll be much more aimed at the empathetic and caring side of showing sympathy for posts that aren't happy or 'likeable.'

Facebook is a large and friendly place for brands too. Consumers take to Social Media to voice their opinion and complaints as well as their recommendations and rave reviews. But on Facebook, if a brand posts content, people are limited in what they can do for a response. At the moment you can like it, share it, or comment. In order to disagree or show displeasure with a topic, you'd have to comment and explain why. This is much more effort than hitting the like button, with one click.

In a Q&A session last week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg revealed that his company is working on a way for Facebook users to express different emotions.  Zuckerberg didn't reveal much more than that. He did indicate that the intent of this new button would not be to facilitate "down vote[s]."

Could a dislike button change Facebook?

Yes. If Facebook became a place where users can do more than like content, it means that brands in particular will need to keep an eye out for the response to their content rather than just measuring likes and shares.

Whether it's a thumbs down "dislike" button or not, it's still a new way for people to express their view about content posted, and this may require brands to rethink the way in which they interact with their Facebook fans and evaluate their effort.

It's likely that Facebook is aware of the potential issues associated with a Dislike button and it's more than likely that they'll have this in mind when designing the new feature. Either they will go ahead with a dislike button but keep the feature separate to brand/ business pages or something else will be implemented entirely.

The one thing that this announcement does show, is that even big brands like Facebook are subject to change and that they listen to their consumers. The subject of a dislike button has been mentioned by Facebook users for years... so we're interested in seeing how they go about applying it.