Why a Dislike Button Is the Best and Worst Thing To Happen to Facebook

Yesterday was a day that will go down in history as a win for the haters, who are going to hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. On September 15, 2015 (future National Dislike Day), Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will soon come with a “dislike” button as well as a like button. Let the dislikers rejoice!

This, clearly, is a terrible idea. Facebook is perhaps the last place left on the internet with a modicum of decorum, and even that is tenuous at best. You can thumbs down videos on YouTube, downvote posts on Reddit, and vote comments up or down all over the place. On FB, however, you actually need to non-anonymously comment on a post with things like reasons. Yes, we have all seen people get into it on Facebook, but it is not the same as a post garnering hundreds of “dislikes.” For now, if we are sick of seeing someone’s adorable baby, we can unfollow them for a time. Soon we will be able to tell them how we really feel.

Look, I get that this is not why they are doing it. They are doing this because sometimes people post sad news and it just feels wrong to “like” it. But what else can you do? Comment? And then get 47 notifications a minute for the next week as everyone else comments after you? Horrifying. No, you either like it anyway, or you ignore it, giving them support in your mind only. Wouldn’t it be nice for someone to post “Got into a car crash today,” and then be able to receive many dislikes? How great would it be not to have to like that someone wrote “Lost my grandparents today after a long battle,” or something equally tragic? Yes, this would be a big improvement. But people, this is the internet we are talking about.

This is the same internet that I want to have faith in, but where I know that currently the means exist, and are used frequently, to harass, belittle, bully, and even threaten. The internet cannot be trusted with anything. You know this. The internet is why we can’t have nice things. How long do you think it will take FB users to start disliking your vacation photos and status updates about your new relationship? And you know that little rush of endorphins you get when someone “likes” something of yours? Think of how sad you will be all the time as you log in to all of those “dislikes.” You think it’s a good idea now, because you have some things in mind that you dislike yourself, but no matter who you are or what you post, someone, somewhere, is sick of you and all of your BS. Sorry.

Now, Zuckerberg has not confirmed that this button will even be called the “dislike” button. Maybe it will be called the “I’m sorry” button, or the “sadness” button. That does not matter. When I post a picture of my and my new girlfriend making out in front of the Grand Canyon, I do not want to get a bunch of “I’m Sorry”s. A negative button is a negative button, and it will be used for evil. And yes, it will be a useful tool for expressing empathy and solidarity too. Just be careful internet. We’ve had this conversation before, and I don’t want to have to tell you again. I’m sending my children out into this world. Be kind.

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