Facebook’s “Dislike” Button? Three Likes and a Dislike

Recently Facebook announced it is “considering” adding a dislike button. According to founder Mark Zuckerberg, “People are not looking for the ability to down vote other people's posts. What they are looking for is a way to be able to express empathy."

That seems fairly clear for individuals, but what about companies and organizations? What does a Dislike button mean for our client brands – and the way they use Facebook to engage with customers and prospects? We asked several veteran Mintz + Hoke folks.

“It’s Facebook – might as well learn to like it rather than try and resist it,” says Andrew Wood, SVP, Strategy & Planning. “It seems like a logical extension of their features. While I worry about its ability to extend cyber-bullying with vulnerable audiences, I hope/suspect the button is more about creating empathy among communities than anything else.”

Says Janette Baxter, Management Supervisor, “Anytime a new social media platform is unveiled or changes are made to Facebook it’s a challenge and (more importantly) an opportunity for smart and nimble brands to rethink the way they engage with customers and prospects. I “like” the dislike option and have used the thumbs down on YouTube and Reddit. My friends can always count on a few emojis in my comments, so I think the dislike button is another shorthand way that we can register an opinion. I’d be surprised if it turned out to be a hate fest.”

Our Creative Director, Grant Sanders, has a different view. “The dislike button is going to be a big problem for a few brands, especially those that are polarizing.” Grant cites a single-cup coffee maker brand, for which he has done some work in the past. “Many users are very passionate about their highly convenient machines and their favorite varieties of coffee pods. This particular brand enjoys a huge following on Facebook as a result. If the dislike button gets implemented, suddenly everyone who thinks single-cup coffee makers are wasteful and bad for the environment or don’t produce a satisfying cup of coffee are going to have an opportunity to weigh in. If that happens, the brand may just see its shining reputation on Facebook shift in the other direction.”

Finally, Kara Mitchell, Senior Vice President, Client Service, reminds us that the dislike button is still in development and that Facebook may be rolling out more than just one button. “Who knows what is really in the works but we could see Facebook launch the “I’m Sorry” or “No Thanks” buttons to help visitors truly express their feelings,” she says. “The brands that develop honest content with a healthy mix of topics and tone are the brands that have seen and will continue to see success. A little honesty and emotion has never hurt anyone. It’s valuable to understand how consumers of your content really feel. And, as advertisers, it allows us to work harder to make sure we are really earning our likes and gauging how our audience feels about the content we develop.”

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