Facebook, like most companies, is in a constant state of evolution / innovation with their software platform. Understanding user needs is vital in any successful evolution, and if you wonder why Facebook (and so many others) get it “wrong” from time to time, you just have to ask yourself “who’s the customer?” (Reminder: On Facebook, YOU are not the customer. The customers are corporations who buy ad space. YOU are the product / data they sell. ’nuff said)

“Top News” or “Most Recent” in your Facebook Newsfeed

I was reading a discussion regarding “Top News” or “Most Recent” posts in your news feed in Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook/facebook-tips-whats-the-difference-between-top-news-and-most-recent/414305122130

By default, we now see “Top News” and Facebook makes it increasingly more difficult to find and use the “Most Recent” feeds (in iOS tablet, btw, it’s under the “More” button now). Youtube, has a “thumbs-down” button, and it works nicely in helping people sort out good content from bad. But, I suspect that’s kinda the point with Facebook … since they derive revenue from ads, any negativity towards the ad or sponsored posts would reduce it’s chances of becoming “Popular” or “Top News”. (again … you ain’t the customer)

It’s apparent not everyone LIKES this, and it made me think of a [DON’T LIKE] button and it’s potential uses.

The [LIKE] button confuses us sometimes

I did a Google search on “Don’t Like” button. It’s apparent the [LIKE] button confuses us all  for several reasons:

  1. When friends share sad news. This happened recently when a friend who’s Mother had just passed posted the news on Facebook. Oddly, the post inspired many, many likes, and about half as many comments. And, I wondered, who [LIKES] that kind of information? I don’t. This article ponders a [SYMPATHIZE] button: http://ca.eonline.com/news/488951/facebook-might-add-a-sympathize-button-so-you-don-t-have-to-like-when-someone-dies
  2. Too Much Information (TMI). Yes, I realize that the acid peel on your face will make you look 7 years younger. Just not now; immediately after the procedure. Your face looks hideous. [DON’T LIKE]
  3. Too Common or Mundane Information (TCMI). WOW! You just went shopping to pick up potatoes. Just regular potatoes? Nothing special about them? [DON’T LIKE].
  4. Advertisements that we don’t like. I [DON’T LIKE] them!!! I see a Coca-Cola advertisement talking about their “refreshing” beverages that contribute significantly to the worlds obesity, and somehow it managed to get 10’s of thousands of likes while any negative comments are easily washed away.
  5. People or Promoted News sharing causes that we don’t like. While I appreciate people’s enthusiasm and support Freedom of Speech, there are many times I would like to weigh in on the “perhaps you should reconsider this” side of things. In a way, a [DON’T LIKE] button would complete the effect of having a 50/50 public opinion poll regarding your posts. With just a [LIKE] button, it feels like we’re really just getting half the story.
  6. When CEO’s makes changes we don’t like. It would be so useful if the [DON’T LIKE] button was connected directly to a CEO’s dashboard (and compensation)!

Only Facebook gets to know when we [Don’t Like] something

Ultimately, fewer casual Facebookers would be willing to share if they knew they might amass some Dislikes (not a bad thing…), and certainly Advertisers would also be affected if it were easy (and public) to Dislike something. Facebook has been collecting data behind the scenes … asking people why they want to “Hide” something from their feed, so while they continue to tinker with the algorithm, it’s all in a black box and not for the rest of us to see or consider.

According to this Huffington Post article, “Mark Zuckerberg has taken a hard line letting any “Dislikes” into his walled garden. He stonewalled web developers who wanted to let people dislike a post from their sites, while allowing for buttons that use “abhor,” “hate” and other synonyms” As a side note, there are Chrome and Firefox extensions to their browsers that will let you add “Don’t Like” buttons.

Interestingly, there’s a group on Facebook called the “I want a Don’t Like Button” with 15,000 likes thus far. I wonder how many “Don’t Like’s” it would get?

Maybe even more useful? The [Don’t Care] button.

The “Don’t Care” button is a close relative of the “Don’t Like” button, and I’ll leave you with this “too-close-too-home” infographic created by the folks at http://www.themaplekind.com/i-dont-care-button/ “Where infographics meets comics and bullshit”: