Some strange stuff’s happening at Facebook. Common sense appears to have gone out the window at the giant social network, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg planning a couple of controversial new features.
The first new feature is one we thought Facebook was adamantly opposed to – a dislike button. Ever since the ‘Like’ button was introduced in 2009, people have been asking about a dislike button, but common sense at Facebook held strong and the idea was shot down due to its potential for abuse.
Now, however, Zuckerberg is saying a dislike button will be a good way for people to show ‘empathy’. We don’t know what it is that changed his mind, but it looks like Facebook has been working on the dislike button for a while as a prototype is said to be very close.
In the perfect world, we can see a dislike button being a really useful way of connecting with people during hard times. If a friend’s pet dies, for example, you’re less likely to say something wrong with a click of a button than if you try writing a heart-felt message. Yes, it’s less personal, but so is the ‘Like’ button and we accept that when it’s used properly.
But we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a world of people who think they’re funny and internet trolls. A dislike button in their hands has the potential to cause emotional harm effortlessly.
Zuckerberg hasn’t told us how Facebook’s dislike button will work, so maybe it won’t be that easy to abuse. Maybe you’ll be able to choose which of your posts it appears on, or some new artificial intelligence will recognise when people are abusing it. All we can do until the button launches, is hope.
Facebook event read receipts
The other new feature that Facebook’s unveiled is event read receipts. Read receipts are those annoying things that let people know when you’ve seen a message they’ve sent you, which forces you to reply immediately or risk the friendship fallout.
With event read receipts, anyone who invites you to an event through Facebook will know the moment you’ve seen the event. That means you’ll have to say you’re going or not there and then, no pretending you missed the invite.
‘So what?’ you might say, ‘Surely you can tell your friends that you have something else to do.’ But what if you don’t have a good excuse? Will your friends really just accept that you don’t feel like going out?
Facebook has already introduced read receipts to Messenger, and people hate them so much that the internet has created a range of plugins that trick the feature.
Maybe we’re being too cynical, maybe Facebook’s new features will be a godsend – we won’t know until their finished versions launch and we can see exactly how they work. For now, tell us what you think of a Facebook dislike button and read receipts in the comments below.