If Facebook does this they might lose me, will they lose you too? 242



View Profile

Last week, during a Question and Answer session at the Facebook headquarters in California, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg shared that he wants to give users the option to quickly express broader ranges of feelings on the social network. Thinking about this made me realise that I have some very strong feelings against the idea. Facebook doesn’t need to give users more sentiments to express – we don’t need a dislike button, we don’t need more emoticon options, we don’t need more availability to express ourselves. And this is why…

Firstly, the more negative things we see on Facebook, the more negative our own emotions become. Research from Professor Adam Kramer earlier this year proved that those who see more negative posts on Facebook are more inclined to write and share more negative posts themselves. This created an emotional cycle that suggests if we begin to have options to “dislike” a post, we’re increasing the negative sentiment expressed on Facebook.

It has saddened me deeply that across this year, so many people of all ages who have been lost in illnesses like depression, have turned to social media looking for positivity and hope only to have their condition worsen. So many people have deteriorated emotionally and mentally due to this and whether social media can take responsibility or not, we have to admit there is a problem.

Secondly, as a grandparent, I am constantly fretting about bullying. I was bullied as a child in primary school, I would have my plaits pulled and sometimes the older boys would trip me over but the thing that hurt the most was the words and name calling. Social media has provided an entire platform for a new way of bullying that hones in on emotions and for some people has their self esteem shredded.

Imagine if your grandchild posted a family photo or a photo of himself or herself at a formal or party only to have others “dislike” it. That is all it takes, just one click of a button and they are emotionally affected. Commenting is one form, but for someone to actually take the effort to say negative things is not always but is sometimes a deterrent. This new option could open Facebook users to an entirely new level of vulnerability of the worst kind.

So many of us use Facebook every day. We go on to check what our friends are up to, we go on to see how our family is, we go online to get the news, we go online to share our stories and we go online to share our opinions, but every time we do any of those, we’re contributing to the emotional pull of Facebook.

I truly hope that Facebook doesn’t give us the option to share negative feelings – can’t we focus on spreading positive emotions?

Mark Zuckerberg, please consider the implications of expanding our sentiment options on Facebook, please remember the social responsibility you have to make the world a better place. I honestly feel like this wouldn’t be a positive contribution to our online experiences or society as a whole and I don’t want to see people like us, our children and our grandchildren face even more challenges than are necessary.

Tell me, do you feel like this is an unnecessary thing for Facebook to do? Do you feel like this will make a negative contribution to society? Share your thoughts in the comments below…

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Didn’t he start this in college and hurt a lot of young women then. So why would he start caring about people’s feelings now.

  2. Some young people judge their own self worth by how many likes they get on a post. Few or no likes can bring about depression so a dislike button would be devastating. I have a young friend who has Bipolar Disorder and can at times feel rejected. This would be damaging to her. I agree with the article wholeheartedly.

    1 REPLY
  3. I think u r misunderstanding. The dislike button is so people can express emotion at for instance a car accident.
    Often people say they dont want to click like when something bad happens.

    7 REPLY
    • Agree. Sometimes the ‘like’ click is inappropriate.

    • That might be the original purpose for a dislike button but there are people out there who love to be mean and negative and will use the dislike button just to be horrible – I think I will stop using facebook if this happens.

    • I agree. There are some posts on Facebook that we would rather not see. Came across something not long ago that was pretty gross. I have often commented on not liking something; it would just save time. A quick dislike button would be very convenient.

  4. I can understand what your saying about negativity but there are some instances that a dislike button would come in handy for instance Facebook is trending that Rupert Murdoch praised his staff at the Daily Telegraph for the Sydney terror coverage..it is not appropriate and I would dislike that

    9 REPLY
    • I agree with the writer and you here Libbi. I would like a dislike button too. Pressing like in some situations is bizarre. I am hoping (I think this is a silly hope, as it won’t happen) that maybe this new option may stop some of the bullying behaviours and very offensive remarks of some very inappropriate contributors. It is too easy to be a faceless bully using this media. Very negative, cruel and unjust comments can hurt people and cause depression to be triggered in those vulnerable.

      1 REPLY
      • Jill, you only have to read through some lines of comments on quite ordinary posts to see that this won’t happen – I often have to stop reading because the comments are just too awful. So while I understand what a dislike button would do, I don’t think it will work. There are some pretty nasty types out there who just want to spew their venom at any target they can and as the writer has so rightly said, I don’t want a photo my grandkids post of themselves to have dislikes on it.

    • Perhaps if the dislikes far outweigh the likes of a person’s comment, that person may stop and think about what was written.

    • I was reading that Murdoch thing before I came here, despicable old man finding delight in a tragedy like that, he gave up his Australian citizenship so he is not even one of us any more

    • I agree a ‘dislike’ button has it’s uses and is very appropriate in some cases but it certainly won’t stop people who want to make hurtful and unnecessary comments.

    • Libbi I was just thinking about my comment and I take back what I said. I don’t know whether it’s the last few days that are getting to me or what, but it’s time I started being positive about stuff and stop looking for the negatives in everything that comes up on FB. Maybe I’ve just found my News Year Resulution? Thanks

    • I think it is getting to us all Wendy.. I just can’t see how praise for any news outlet should enter into that attack, my heart aches for those victims and their families. We should only be concentrating on them and ways to stop this from happening again xoxoxo Wendy.

  5. A ‘dislike’ option is exactly what I want. I’m sick of seeing comments that are laced with inappropriate language, racism, bigotry or that are just wrong factually and the only options FB offers me is to ‘Like’ or ‘Comment’. I want a ‘Dislike’ option.

    8 REPLY
    • Steve, a dislike button won’t stop that! Hit the little arrow on top right of a post and report it!

      1 REPLY
    • Wendy you’ve missed my point. I’m fully aware of how to report offensive posts but just because I ‘dislike’ a post doesn’t mean I should report it and it certainly doesn’t mean that the post is offensive. What it will do is give me the option of indicating that I don’t like a post. If FB gives me the option to like a post it should also give the option to dislike a post.

      1 REPLY
      • Yes, absolutely. Option for “Like”, then there should be an option for “Dislike”. If you comment that you dislike something, it still registers as a “like”. Bring on the thumbs down.

    • JoAnne what in your opinion is ‘the point’? You’ve gone to the trouble of making a comment without an explanation of what you’re view is or what your interpretation of what ‘the point’ is. It’s taken you ten words to indicate your dislike of ‘my point’. A ‘Dislike’ button would be perfect for you.

    • You guys don’t need a dislike button. You are already expressing your opinions without displaying it publicly on the posting. Why not just let it be.

    • Facebook is a lame duck when it comes to acting on a report that is inappropriate or offensive, I once reported a photo that was of a well known celebrity laying back with legs apart wearing only a pair of black fishnet stockings, and the reply I got back from them was that they did not deem it porno or offensive. ????

    • Jan Trott Schacht the reason why people are commenting and expressing their opinions is because that is what the author of the article requested in the lasting paragraph. Whether people choose to comment on my post without including their comment in the main discussion is their choice and these comments are on public display, you found them, they are a branch of the main discussion. You need to review the article again especially the last paragraph.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *