In the news yesterday was the volte-face by Facebook, whereby they are caving in to popular demand and introducing a Dislike button to go alongside the Like. “At last!”, I hear the massed chorus. After all, if I can Like something then why should I not be able to Dislike something else?

Facebook is so relentlessly upbeat, so Happy Happy Happy. That’s fine for the endless cute cats and their ilk, but there are a lot of posts that require a more considered judgement. No action really leaves no indication that you even read the thing, so the only way to comment is to like it. What if you find it unlikeable – or worse? Saying nothing sort of indicates acceptance.

Hence the need for a Dislike button. After all, many forums have up and down voting buttons for each posting, so we can tell which are the most popular. On these, articles are posted by anyone. There is usually a moderator to keep things in order and prevent spammers but they don’t favour people and there’s no way you can bar someone who votes down your article, even if you knew who they were – which you don’t.

However, Facebook isn’t a forum. The articles on your Wall are yours, and Facebook tells you who Liked them. In the future they’ll also tell you who Disliked them too. Everyone want Likes, but nobody wants a Dislike, so if you get one the obvious thing to do is un-Friend the person who hit the Dislike button. One less Friend for you, but also for them and perhaps they’ll think twice before Disliking anyone else. After a while, the only way to stay a Friend is to Like everything they say, never daring to Dislike.

Y’see where I’m going with this? Facebook may have a Dislike button but nobody will use it because instant unFriending will be the result. Sycophancy rules, OK?

Whether I’m right about all this remains to be seen; after all, the announcement was only made yesterday. Only time will tell.

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