Facebook is about to get a lot less likeable thanks to the planned introduction of a "dislike button," and I'm none too happy about it, even if I get the point.
As CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged today, "People have asked about the 'dislike' button for many years, and probably hundreds of people have asked about this."
But resistance to the downward-facing hand gesture is futile, as the social media giant finally gave in to its own self-generated mob. A dislike button prototype is "very close to shipping."
Here's why I think this grumpy cat-equivalent button isn't a good idea, while fully getting the irony that I'm sounding negative about negativity.
Great, just what we need: more cynicism
The 80s had big hair, the 90s had grunge and boy bands, the 2000s had reality television and the 2010s currently has cynicism. Like we need more of that!
Facebook is playing right into the hands of this snarkiest generation in history, motivating twenty and thirty-year-old millennials to downvote posts without ever reading beyond the headline.
The "everything is wrong with the world, and I want to let it be known" attitude is pervasive on the connected internet. Meanwhile authentic positivity is rare outside of feels-good, lazy liking and resharing, the kind that makes people think, "I reshared this, so good things are going to happen. I did my part."
A majority of millennials (I'm included in that generation - barely), probably want to "dislike" this very article. Negatory. Facebook hasn't quite launched its dislike button yet.
Trolling with dislikes
"Why the heck would someone dislike my high school graduation photos from 13 years ago?!" It's going to happen. You're going to hear complaints like this, as common as today's "swipe right" phrase.
Everyone from your prank-loving friend to that person you haven't heard from in several years is going to be out to prod and poke (not the old-school Facebook poke, either) at your posts.
There's nothing wrong with dissenting opinion, but when it's used as a mischievous weapon, it's going to become a burden that interrupts your newsfeed stream (and phone notifications) with undeserved negativity.
Imagine posting a new profile picture, and instead of being able to delete that one negative comment in a sea of compliments, there's a lone dislike.
Lazy downvotes instead of actual sympathy
"A dislike button allows me to voice disapproval without having to type," said Juan Martinez, our TechRadar Pro Senior Editor, and that's a fair point.
"If someone writes, 'my lizard died,' I want to reach out to them, but I don't want to write words." But if my lizard dies, I want to hear from Juan and everyone else, not rack up dislikes.
By Facebook introducing a dislike button, it spurs a new form laziness. It's a shallow way to show feeling without ever expressing true empathy.
The "like button" had the same effect when it was introduced in 2009, five years after "The Facebook" was founded in 2004.
Hopefully Zuckerberg and company find a way to remedy unwarranted dislikes and social media malaise, no matter what form the button eventually takes.
But if it doesn't work out, I know a guy with two sideways-pointing thumbs who is going to say "I told you so."
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