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Should Facebook Have A Dislike Button?

By Sharang Shah:

In a Question and Answer session (Q&A) last week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company has been working on creating a ‘Dislike’ function.  The purpose of this button will be to express empathy with posts covering events that seem inappropriate to like, such as tragedies.

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Calls for creating a ‘Dislike’ button have been around ever since Facebook first created the ‘Like’ button in 2009. The creator of the popular social media network said that hundreds of people have asked him about creating this feature over the years but he wasn’t keen on making one because he didn’t want Facebook to become a forum for people to up-vote or down-vote content.

What’s In A Name?

In this context, a rose by any other name would not smell as sweet. The branding of the button will play a huge role in the way people use it. If Facebook were to name the button ‘Dislike’, it would probably be used for everything, but the intended purpose. Brands could use the button to down-vote competitor’s posts and limit their reach; people could use it express disagreement with posts on ideological fronts; and trolls could use it to do what they do best – ‘trolling’. Naming it a ‘Solidarity’ button may go a long way in making sure it is used as intended. However, there is always a certain level of uncertainty with these things and even the noblest aim could be twisted.

Your Newsfeed Is About To Change

The biggest impact, however, will not be on the number of trolls, but on your news feed. As most users may know, the posts appearing on your Newsfeed are anything but random. They’re selected by an algorithm that traces, among other things, your history and browsing patterns on the site, and processes those to show you posts that it thinks you will be most interested in.

The more likes a post has, the more likely it is to appear on your newsfeed and if a number of your friends are among the people who have liked the post, the likelihood of it appearing on your news feed increases even further. If a ‘Dislike’ button is added, it will probably have an opposite effect on the algorithm. Thus, the content you see will be shaped by your friends preferences like never before.

The Customer Is Always Right

The announcement may have made daily users of the social media website break a smile, but it would have definitely left brands and data analysts absolutely ecstatic.  The addition of a ‘Dislike’ button will have not only a direct impact on your news feed, but also an indirect impact on the content that is published.

Up till now, analysts with different brands and pages have only been relayed limited amounts of data on negative feedback of their posts. They could see how many people had seen the post but chose to ignore it completely as they could not tell whether such people were disinterested in the content or were repulsed by it. Only the opinion of the vocal few who took time out to comment on their disagreement could be heard. However, majority of users do not take their time out to actually express their disinclination towards a post. The ‘Dislike’ button would be a game changer in this regard.

Brands will finally have reliable data on whether their content is being perceived negatively.  This will most likely lead to a situation where irrelevant content will be completely removed and only content that the customer can relate to, will be produced. Thus, this is another significant stride in moving towards customer-driven content.

Despite so many advantages, some questions are more pertinent and still remain unanswered – Will users perceive this button as a ‘Dislike’ button or will Facebook be able to prevent that from happening? And, is user-driver content the best way to go, especially for delivering the news, as it can now be filtered and presented?

You must be to comment.
  1. Avinesh Saini

    Totally.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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