When you're scrolling your Facebook News Feed and see something sad, what do you do? It doesn’t make sense to “like” it if you’re not happy that it happened, but scrolling past it seems cruel. How can you acknowledge a loss or commiserate without commenting? The conundrum of the digital age is close to a solution: a “dislike” button is on the way.
At a Town Hall meeting that was streaming live on his page, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that the company is working on a long-awaited “dislike” button. “I think people have asked about the dislike button for many years,” he said. “Today is a special day because today is the day I can say we’re working on it and shipping it.”
Despite public desire for the addition, Zuckerberg had resisted the idea in the past. CNBC reports that his reticence was due to not wanting to encourage negativity between users on the site (has he never seen a fight erupt in the comments?). “We don’t want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts,” he said today.
Yet, Zuckerberg acknowledges that having the option to express a sentiment other than “like” can serve an important purpose, telling the audience that the button would be a way for users to show their empathy.
Though there weren’t too many details about the new feature, Zuckerberg did discuss the virtual reality system Oculus and his thoughts on artificial intelligence. If you’re wondering, he’s an optimist in that regard, saying that AI could “add value to people’s lives.” In other words, he “likes” it.