Two days ago, Mark Zuckerberg hosted a long-awaited Q&A session that had the social network founder front and center answering the community’s questions. The event was promoted on Zuckerberg’s own Facebook Page (using the new LIVE feature for public figure Pages), its own Event Page, and through a form that anyone could use to submit their questions for Zuckerberg to answer.

Many important questions were answered in the hour townhall including topics such as augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and ways to better connect people across the world. However, none of these topics made waves like the announcement of the ‘Dislike’ button.

Within minutes there were hundreds of news articles taking Zuckerberg’s announcement out of context to cause excitement for users and panic for brands across the world.

Today is a special day because today is the day I can say we’re working on it and shipping it

As a social media marketer, I instantly felt panic and worry about how many ‘Dislikes’ my posts would see with this feature update, how I would need to update my KPIs (key performance indicators) in my engagement reports, and what this sentiment would mean in extra crisis-control for me and my team.

But then I was able to emit a sigh of relief when I went back and listened carefully to Zuckerberg’s answer.

Zuckerberg explicitly expressed that he doesn’t want to “turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts. That doesn’t seem like the kind of community we want to create.”

In actuality, his answer to people’s interest in a ‘Dislike’ button is one of compassion. He sees that people want to share more empathy with their community. If a family member loses their job or media outlet shares terrible news about the impact of an earthquake, people no longer feel that a ‘Like’ is the appropriate response; and Facebook is in the process of testing for a better solution.

So what button can we expect to emerge for empathy?

Wired shared four suggested alternatives to the dislike button that we think are totally plausible outcomes to Facebook’s new button brainstorm.

The ‘I Hear You’ button
A symbol of an ear to express “receptiveness and engagement while fostering a sense of community and inquisitiveness.”

Ear Facebook Icon

The ‘Hands Holding a Heart’ button
A true icon of empathy with two hands coming together to form a heart and reflect appropriately back on the thumbs up representing the current ‘Like.’

Hand Heart Facebook

The ‘I’m With The Statement Above’ button
Similar to how people use “^^^” to show agreement with a prior comment or statement, this point up or look up button could demonstrate agreement with others to foster community.

Point Facebook

The ‘Glass Half-Full/Empty’ button
The neutral half-moon demonstrates neutral recognition to express empathy. It could easily reveal complicated emotions for sensitive news shared on Facebook.

Neutral Moon Facebook

So while many users were ready to troll Facebook with all their ‘Dislike’ for the world, brands can now rest easy and join the conversation around how to better connect and empathize with their social audiences.

Which button would you like to see?
Take the poll we created and see if others agree below!


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About the Author: Deanna Zaucha is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist for Webs and Pagemodo, and also manages their social media presence. She can be found on the dance floor, or on her iPhone keeping up with trends in marketing and tech. Get more from Deanna on the Webs Blog, Pagemodo’s Blog, and Twitter.

Video via TechCrunch
Images via WIRED


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