Facebook comes round to our way of thinking, introduces ‘dislike’ button for grumpy/depressed folk

Seems that it’s not just Brits who are depressed and grumpy most of the time and want to dislike most of the content on Facebook. The company’s CEO is coming round to our way of thinking too!

With so much, let’s face it, depressing content posted on the social media behemoth it’s often difficult to blithely stick your thumb up as if you are, frankly, pleased about it all.

Cat/dog/grandma just died? Refugees fleeing war dying on their way to seek a better life in Europe? NHS starved of funds? It’s very difficult to like that sort of thing. So rather than sticking your thumbs up, Facebook is trialling a ‘dislike button’ – though it’s not clear if that will be a thumbs down or not. I suspect it will be a little more complex.

“Not every moment is a good moment,” admitted Facebook’s co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a regular Q+A session at the company’s headquarters at Menlo Park, California.

He said he realised that people may not want to like a current event such as the Syrian refugee crisis and wants to introduce an expanded way for people to share their emotional reactions. However, he doesn’t want it it be as simple as a thumbs up, thumbs down option which other social media sites, such as Google’s YouTube, use.

While news about the introduction of a ‘dislike’ button has been the biggest story from the session, the US billionaire didn’t just talk about this in his Q+A. He also touched on the future of technology, including artificial intelligence, which has attracted a lot of concerns recently.

However, he said he’s not that concerned partly because AI technology is still quite basic but also because it has the potential to do a lot of good – such as saving lives or helping people to drive. “All new technology has the ability to do good and bad,” he said. “I’m fundamentally optimistic about human nature and our ability to do good.”

In the Q+A Zuckerberg also talked about becoming a Dad for the first time and revealed that although he wears pretty much the same clothes every day (usually a grey T-Shirt), he likes to dress more colourfully at the weekends. Fascinating stuff, but none of it so interesting as the possibility of introducing a dislike button, it seems.

Chris Price

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