Facebook has long been the subject of intense speculation over whether or not it would introduce a “dislike” button. The social media giant has finally confirmed that it is, in fact, working on such a button – but it’s not quite what you might think.
Facebook’s “dislike” button will not be a way to express negativity, but rather a way to show empathy. The company is currently testing the button with a small group of users, and plans to roll it out more broadly if the tests are successful.
The news of Facebook’s dislike button was first reported by The Huffington Post, which obtained a statement from Facebook confirming the tests.
“We are testing a feature that lets people who have liked a post express empathy with a wider range of emotions,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Huffington Post.
The current test includes a set of six “reactions” that users can choose from: Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry. The buttons are similar to the ones that Facebook already offers for Messenger, but they’re adapted for use on the News Feed.
The Facebook spokesperson said that the company is “always exploring new ways to make News Feed more expressive,” and that the dislike button is just one of the ideas they’re considering.
The introduction of a dislike button has been one of the most requested features on Facebook for years. Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s founder and CEO, has repeatedly said that a dislike button is not in the works, as it would promote negativity.
“We didn’t want to just build a Dislike button because we don’t want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts,” Zuckerberg said in a 2015 Q&A session.
“That doesn’t seem like the kind of community we want to create.”
The Facebook CEO has said in the past that a dislike button could be used to express a variety of different emotions, including empathy, and that the company is exploring ways to add more nuanced reactions.
It’s not clear when Facebook plans to roll out the dislike button more broadly, but it’s likely that the company will wait to see how the tests go before making a decision.