A few weeks ago, there was quite a buzz about a dislike button being introduced to Facebook. This is something that people have been asking for a long time; possibly because we are a people that tend to dislike a lot of things. Sure, we like funny or cute animals but we don’t like it when someone posts funny or cute animal videos all the time. While we usually grumble or rant about it, with a dislike button, we will be able to express our dislike in more direct ways.
However, if this is why the dislike button is being introduced, wouldn’t it lead to more cyber-bullying? Will the feature be used to express dislike of constant baby picture posts or spoilers or to express dislike of an offensive joke or homophobic comment? How will we use and more importantly, how will we be able to use, the dislike button?
If there is a post that is discriminatory or abusive, shouldn’t we report it instead of merely disliking it? Will the new type of slacktivism be clicking the dislike button? Will keyboard warriors stop using words and, armed only with a mouse, limit their activism to disliking posts?
What about posts we dislike simply because they irritate us? For instance, if a friend keeps posting about her boyfriend every hour, do we dislike her posts or simply unfriend her? Or even if we don’t go to the extreme of unfriending someone, why not just ignore the post or unfollow them? While you can’t and shouldn’t post anything that goes against the sites terms and conditions, if it is your personal profile, shouldn’t you have the freedom to post whatever you want? If you want to post every picture of your baby and you aren’t concerned about all those pictures being online, shouldn’t you be able to post them without receiving a lot of hate from your ‘friends’?
With a feature like this, besides wondering if we’ve posted too frequently or if it would clutter our wall, we also have to worry if it will get disliked. Sure, it’s easy to say you shouldn’t care about what other people think but how practical is that? Don’t we all feel at least slightly hurt when someone expresses dislike of something we posted simply because they don’t like it?
We are all allowed to have opinions and likes and dislikes.
However, does this mean we need to always express our dislike of what another says or shares? Sure, the dislike button will be used to protest against posts that are hurtful, abusive or offensive, but will it also lead to an increase in cyber-bullying?