What Does the Facebook 'Dislike' Button Mean for Brands?

You’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and see one of those posts. The grandmother of a classmate you only kind of remember has died. Your second cousin lost their job. Your realtor’s dog ran away.

Let’s be honest, you’re probably not going to leave a “Sorry to hear that” comment, but you want to show some support. Up until now, your main option has been to give them a “like.” But is that insensitive? Did you just show support, or are you liking the fact that your college roommate’s favorite pizza place burned down?

This week Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social media company is working on a something like a “dislike” button.

"What they really want is the ability to express empathy. Not every moment is a good moment," Zuckerberg said at a Facebook town hall meeting.

Will The Dislike Button Change How We Use Facebook? 

Facebook is a huge driver of traffic for brands. Will stories about political candidates drive dislikes from the opposition party? If a customer has a negative experience, will they dislike everything on a page in retaliation? Facebook’s algorithm means stories with lots of likes will show up in more feeds. Will heavily posts be less likely to appear, similar to downvotes on Reddit?

Zuckerberg was quick to dislike that theory, saying he doesn’t want to turn Facebook into a forum for voting posts up or down.

The Verge has already theorized that this new feature may be more complicated than simply disliking something on a while polling readers on the usefulness of things like “Overshare” and “Humble Brag” buttons.

Tech Crunch’s suggestion? A “Sorry” button, saying that “Whatever wording Facebook picks, it has to be widely understandable, translatable across languages, succinct, and unambiguous.”

So if a brand has news it wants out there that may not be something Facebook users would normally like, this button could provide a new way for users to interact with the page. Not all posts are positive, but options beyond “Like” will help broaden the way it is spread on social media. People may not like news about a virus outbreak, but if they have other options to interact, the info can be more easily spread.

Whatever is coming next, Facebook is about to get more emotionally responsive. That could mean new opportunities to get eyes on your brand. Blue Compass is here to help with this and your other social media needs.