The dislike button. It’s a Facebook feature that users and the tech press have been clamoring about for years. Will we ever see it? What about other buttons? Man, what’s the deal with organic reach? All that and more were discussed during Mark Zuckerberg’s, founder and CEO of Facebook, second public Q&A event.
As for the dislike button? They are mulling it over, but he’s not sold on the idea. His take on it is that there needs to be more nuanced. Left unstated? It would be easy to bot. You know how you can buy X amount of fans for pennies on the dollars? Well, you can buy likes too. Most of that has been filtered out with algorithms.
That takes time and Facebook is a public company – subject to the whims of Wall Street. What about sites that depend on Facebook for traffic? Yes, most marketers would say that’s their problem, but can’t you just see the influx of bots to make Buzzfeed’s life a living hell? Or Vice? Insert popular site here?
Facebook is taking the right approach here. Deliberate and not jumping in feet first. Here’s his complete answer to the dislike button question.
“You know we’re thinking about it, on the Dislike button. It’s an interesting question, right, because there are two things that it can mean. And we’re considering and talking about doing one and not the other. So the one that we don’t want to do: The Like button is really valuable because it’s a way for you to very quickly express a positive emotion or sentiment when someone puts themselves out there and shares something. And, you know, some people have asked for a Dislike button because they want to be able to say ‘That thing isn’t good’. And that’s not something that we think is good for the world. So we’re not going to build that. I don’t think there needs to be a voting mechanism about whether posts are good or bad. I don’t think that’s socially very valuable or good for the community to help people share the important moments in their lives.
But the thing that I think is very valuable is there are more sentiments that people want to express than positivity or that they Like something. You know a lot of times people share things on Facebook that are sad moments in their lives, or are tough cultural or social things and often people tell us that they don’t feel comfortable press Like because Like isn’t the appropriate sentiment when someone lost a loved one or is talking about a very difficult issue.
So one of the things that we’ve had some dialogue about internally and that we’ve thought about for quite a while is what’s the right way to make it so people can easily express a broader range of emotions to empathize or to express surprise or laughter or any of these things. And you know you can always just comment, right, so it’s not like there isn’t a way to do that today, and a lot of people are commenting on posts all the time. But there’s something that’s just so simple about the Like button. You know if you’re commenting, a lot of the time you feel like you have to have something witty to say or add to the conversation.
But everyone feels like they can just press the Like button and that’s an important way to sympathize or empathize with someone in an important moment that put themselves out there to share. And giving people the power to do that in more ways with more emotions would be powerful, but we need to figure out the right way to do it so it ends up being a force for good, not a force for bad and demeaning the posts that people are putting out there. So that’s an important thing. We don’t have anything that’s coming out soon but it’s an important area of discussion.”
It also comes down to usability. Do we really want the equivalent of emojis cluttering a mobile app. I compare it to the messaging apps. You have Whatsapp that keeps it simple. Turn on Line and if you’re above drinking age you are wondering if you had 8 too many with the myriad of options.
We shouldn’t expect Facebook to deviate from what’s obviously working. Will there eventually be a way to thumbs down content? Probably. The company will need a plan to stop dislike spam, first.
Decline of Organic Reach
The biggest story out of Facebook from a marketing point is the decline of organic reach. In 2015, promotional posts will be whittled out of the newsfeeds. Cue the outrage of companies screaming they should be able to reach the people that have liked their page.
I get the frustration and Facebook’s stance. We are dealing with a severe case of Internet ADD. People continue to like more and more pages, and friends are sharing even more content. How do you even organize that?
Facebook’s answer was to scattershot it to a small percentage of your followers and see if it takes off organically from there. More engagement equals more reach. Or, you can boost the post to all your followers.
There’s more competition, so that naturally means less reach over time.