New Facebook Dislike Button Will Delete Posts With 10 “Dislikes”
Facebook released new information on its planned integration of a dislike button into user posts today and it will likely be greeted with ambivalence. It appears that the dislike button will not just be for show, but will in fact be functional, effecting any post that reaches a certain threshold of dislikes received. The number being bandied around by Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook developers at the moment is ten dislikes, and receiving ten dislikes on your post will result in Facebook’s algorithms removing the post as being potentially disruptive and upsetting to fellow users.
“Facebook is about connections and bringing people together,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said regarding the upcoming changes, “and creating a space where people can interact in a safe and respectful manner. Occasionally our users are subjected to things that they find upsetting, are objectionable, and violate the community standards. Currently the mechanism we have in place to deal with this issue is the report option and function. It allows us to remove objectionable material, but requires us to maintain a large workforce to process post reports at great expense. It is also both cumbersome and slow. Many inappropriate and hurtful posts can remain up for extended periods of time before a moderator is able to examine the material of the post and remove it if necessary.”
“At the same time that we have this inefficient system of reporting we also have had user requests to integrate a dislike button into user posts for several years”, continued Zuckerberg. “We realized that by combining the two functions, reporting and the existence of a dislike button, that not only could we streamline the removal of objectionable material from Facebook but we could also achieve massive cost savings as the amount of employees needed to monitor and process reports was entirely eliminated. It’s a win for our shareholders as we increase profitability and it’s a win for users who will be able to police the potentially psychologically harmful material they are exposed to in real-time.”
Many Facebook users were immediately critical of the decision to link post dislikes to removal of the post itself. The most common expressed sentiment regarding the planned move was that it would function as censorship: not only targeting material that violates the community standards but also many subjects that are culturally contentious such as religious or political posts.
Other users, though, are applauding the move. By removing psychological triggering materials they hope that Facebook will become a friendlier, family orientated place where people can socialize while avoiding fighting and the contentious arguments that they say have come to dominate much of the activity on the site.
As to what the actual effect the new changes will bring to the worlds most popular social networking site, we will just have to wait and see.