thumbs downIt’s been a long time in the making, but Facebook has officially announced plans to introduce a thumbs down button. In the social media giant’s 11 plus years of being in business, it has limited users to liking posts with the thumbs up button. But Facebook has now said that it will launch a thumbs down button so users can dislike a post.


Details regarding Facebook’s upcoming thumbs down button remain sparse at this time. We know that Facebook has been working on the project for a while, and that it will soon be introduced into the social media network’s platform. But other than that, we’re really left to speculate on how it will work and what benefits (if any) it will offer.


Of course, news of a thumbs down button comes as somewhat of a surprise, considering that Mark Zuckerberg recently said the social media network would not be implementing this feature. When asked whether or not Facebook would offer a thumbs down option during a Q&A session, Zuckerberg responded by saying that he “didn’t want to duplicate the up-vote/down-vote” option that is currently being used on Reddit. This led many people to believe that Facebook would not be offering a thumbs down button. With Zuckerberg’s recent revelation, however, it’s safe to assume the social media network will be introducing a thumbs down option in the near future.


Why did Facebook change its mind and decide to proceed with a thumbs down button? As noted by Zuckerberg, the network’s upcoming thumbs down button is intended to be used for expressing empathy, not necessarily telling a user that you dislike the “quality” of his or her post. When someone posts an update about being in a car accident, for instance, you don’t want to necessarily like their posts. Instead, you want to show empathy and express your condolences, which is where the thumbs down button comes into play.


What they really want is an ability to express empathy,” said Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive officer of Facebook, Inc. “If you’re expressing something sad… it may not feel comfortable to ‘like’ that post, but your friends and people want to be able to express that they understand.”


The use of a thumbs down button could reshape the way in which businesses promote their brands on Facebook. If users are given the option to dislike a brand’s post or page, it could send the wrong message to its respective target audience. Again, this is something that we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.

Photo Credit: hobvious via Flickr Creative Commons