Rules of thumb: Will Facebook's new dislike button accelerate online hate?

We've spent years agonising about how to handle cyberbullying and now Facebook are to introduce anew button that could accelerate online hate or see a flowering of empathy, says Ed Power

We’ve spent years agonising about how to handle cyberbullying and now Facebook are to introduce a new button that could accelerate online hate or see a flowering of empathy, says Ed Power

In what surely ranks as the most significant social media development since the Kardashians figured out how to share selfies on Twitter, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has announced the platform may shortly be equipped with an alternative to the ‘like’ button.

Such an innovation has the potential to forever change how we interact with Facebook. No longer will we be required to bite our knuckles as an acquaintance stuffs our timeline with yet more pictures of their allegedly adorable children (note to parents: your children are adorable only to you). We will at last have an appropriate response to unsolicited holiday snaps and smug honeymoon updates. Behold — an outlet for our Facebook rage that doesn’t involve literally chucking things out the window.

But this is merely the beginning. The possible uses of a Facebook ‘dislike’ button are endless. Here are 10 typical Facebook posts we look forward to literally giving the thumbs down to in the near future.

1: Inspirational quotes

Invariably accompanied by bucolic images of lakes or empty beaches, affirmative quotes are the knotweed that clogs the internet. Generations ago, inspirational verse was properly exiled to fridge magnets and dusty self-help manuals. Now, gooey proclamations run free on Facebook, variously urging us to take time to notice the beauty of life and remember there is more to the world than material success. Yes, because that’s exactly how Mark Zuckerberg got to be the richest 30-something on the planet.

2: Over-sharing

Hey! Good to hear from you again. What tidings from that gig/wedding/ recreational exorcism you’re attending? How about a grainy picture of the stage so your 450 ‘friends’ can pretend to wish we were there. If you don’t get back to us in the next quarter hour we’ll assume something awful has happened and call the police (or maybe we won’t).

3: Facebook posters against bad things

Do you hate cancer? If so, ‘like’ my post. What about poverty in Africa? On balance, you’re probably against it right? Sign the petition! We’re saving the world one click at a time.

4: People Who Spoil Everything

You haven’t made it all the way through True Detective season two — and the second half of Better Call Saul is still resting in your Netflix queue. But the first paragraph of an article revealing the final episode’s shock twist. Thank you helpful poster, thank you.

5: Really, really gross stuff

Everyone has that one Facebook friend who gets their jollies off forwarding icky pictures and videos. You’re idly perusing your timeline when, euuurgh, the Grossest Thing Ever flashes in front of you. Do these individuals simply possess a higher disgust threshold than the rest of us? Or are they genuinely trying to cause your stomach to execute somersaults. Either way —- expect plenty of ‘dislikes’ from here on.

6: Not very good amateur Photography

It’s easy to be a poor photographer. All you need is an expensive camera and an endless supply of moody/ dramatic landscape (ie the Irish countryside). Alas, just because you have the technical capability to take mediocre snaps, do not feel obliged to share the results with the rest of us.

7: Postings from that Facebook group you regret joining

The details are blurry but it seems at some point in the past decade you indeed signed up to discussion forum devoted to James Cameron’s Avatar. Now you can’t figure out how to unsubscribe and every second posting in your timeline is related to Na’vi grammar. Zuckerberg’s magic dislike button can’t come soon enough.

8: Personal communiques from close friends

If there’s one thing on social media more disturbing than the fevered ramblings of quasi-strangers, it’s a heartfelt communication from someone you know really well. Who goes on Facebook seeking genuine human contact? Repeat after us: the internet is no place for real feelings.

9: The guy with the crazy views you wish you hadn’t friended

You think you know someone. And then you are invited to peruse their Facebook timeline, only to discover they’re a devotee of fringe politics, conspiracy theories and the kind of crackpot opinions you could demolish in five minutes seated across from them in a bar. Instead, you get to have their nutso views rammed down your gullet literally every time you go online.

10: Anything to do with Star Wars

Yes, we’ve heard. A new Star Wars movie is on the way. Should we require further updates you’ll feel a disturbance in the Force — we guarantee it.


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