Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has announced the company is currently working on a ‘dislike’ feature for the social networking site.
Zuckerberg made the announcement during a live-streamed public Q&A session on Tuesday.
“People have asked about the dislike button for many years,” Zuckerberg said.
“We’ve finally heard you and we’re working on this and we will deliver something that meets the needs of the larger community.”
While many users have expressed concern that such a button would contribute negatively to cyber-bullying, 31 year old Zuckerberg said bringing negativity to the site is not the company’s intention, but rather they want to give users the ability to “express empathy”.
“If you’re expressing something that is sad then it may not feel comfortable to ‘like’ that post, but your friends and people want to be able to express that they understand,” Zuckerberg said.
Reach Out Australia’s Social Media Manager, Rosie Swanton said while it does give people the opportunity to use it in a negative way, it’s not an inherently negative thing.
“We have a responsibility to make sure that we don’t use it in inherently negative ways and lead by example,” Ms Swanton said.
“It’s going to be up to us to determine what it means to click that button and if we all get on there and actually start saying ‘dislike’ in cyber bullying ways then that’s what it’s going to turn into.”
Ms Swanton also noted that cyber bullying will exist whether there is a Facebook dislike button or not, and blaming the button will take away from the root of the problem.
“It’s not the medium that’s the problem; it’s the behaviour that’s the problem,” Ms Swanton said.
“If we focus too much on this new function being a problem, then we’re not going to focus enough on actually looking at the cause of that problem.”
“So why is this behaviour happening, why are people attacking each other online all the time and how can we equip young people to treat each other with compassion and kindness in an online space.”
Zuckerberg said the exact form of the button and what it will be applied to is not yet definite and it will be trialled before being available to the general public.