FB dislike button: UAE fans' thumbs up

Facebook last week finally promised that it would soon introduce additional buttons that could express dislike, sadness or empathy.

There have been mixed reactions from across the broad spectrum of users, be it a more welcoming individual userbase to rather skeptical corporate brands.

UAE has so far welcomed the announcement and said the decision is long overdue, especially in a world that is not limited to incidents that are always likeable.

 “It gives you the freedom to express anything other than like. I am tired of limiting my options,” says Pooja who lives in Dubai Silicon Oasis.

“A few months ago I was disgusted to see more than two dozen likes on a post about the first death anniversary of my friend's sister. I know these people did not like that fact that it was her first death anniversary. But Facebook had left us with no other option. Thank God it is going to change,” says Reema Fernandez.

Faisal who works in an advertising industry and an regular Facebook user says an outright dislike button could result in online bullying among teenagers and also prevent users from posting whatever freely. “People will think before they post,” he said welcoming the decision. “It remains to be seen what other button Facebook will introduce. It does not look like there will be a simple dislike button,” he added.

Last week Facebook said it is finally giving in to demands for an alternate to the like button. But there might not be a dislike button after all.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed this during a town hall meeting on Tuesday.

Taking on a question from Egypt asking for a dislike button, Zuckerberg said, "People have asked about the 'dislike' button for many years, and probably hundreds of people have asked about this, and today is a special day because today is the day that I actually get to say we are working on it," he said.

However, he was cautious enough to note that there might after all not be a straightforward thumbs down button. There have been concerns that a dislike button could cause more harm leading to online bullying and an exodus of corporate branding and social media promotion.

It is being feared that a dislike button could actually dissuade users from posting freely on their timeline for fear of a possible backlash and at times bullying.

While this might be true for personal posts, it could be even worse for brand or public bodies. A corporate post with several thousand dislikes might not be what a brand wants to see on their social media profile.

Digital marketing agencies and social media managers have feel that it is a positive move that could result in removing the boring and un-engaging posts.

“It is infact a very big move for brands. Corporates will have to mix things and freshen up their posts. There will be a drop in content which is boring and not engaging. For a greater good change and feedback is imminent” says Rajesh Arab, MD of Doodle Worldwide a Dubai based brand communication agency.
While it will discourage brands that are not very engaging, brands that are proactive and take constructive criticism positively will take the lead. Brands that are not willing to take on constructive feedback are in anyway not doing us any favours,” he added.

As Fadi Al Tarzi, CEO of SocialEyez pointed out limiting user options to a Like button never seemed fully logical, you would sometimes need to “Like” a page in order to tell them you “Don’t Like” their product.

“In my view, organizations will need to adapt by developing more dynamic content strategies with content themes which may vary a bit from what they’re currently producing. It will also naturally add pressure on organizations to engage with users more rapidly & transparently,” he added.

Zuckerberg also provided a hint as to how soon the new feature could go online. “We are very close to shipping a test of it,” indicating that the new button might be released within weeks.