Facebook’s “Like Button Problem”

posted at 7:40 pm on September 22, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

Facebook – still locked in a desperate battle to see who can launch Skynet’s army of killer robots first – has a problem. Any user of the web is already familiar with the ubiquitous Facebook “like” and “share” buttons, whether you primarily follow politics, geek fare, cooking or anything else. (Savvy readers will quickly note that you’ll find both of them on each article you read when browsing Hot Air.) But to the great disappointment of Mark Zuckerberg, not enough people are using the “like” feature. What’s a billionaire to do?

Never fear… Facebook has a plan.

You can’t deny the success of Facebook‘s Like button. Its popularity quickly skyrocketed; it took less than a month for the button to appear on more than 100,000 websites. Now it is a standard method for endorsing something on the social web.

But that’s exactly the problem — the Like button is an endorsement. If you run across an interesting article and share it, it’s seen as an implicit endorsement. And although that has gotten Facebook this far, the social platform is ready to go further.

The company did some internal research and found that users, especially younger ones, were afraid to “Like” because of the implied endorsement. Less Liking, or sharing, means less interesting content on Facebook and fewer posts about what these users are doing.

The solution, as detailed in the linked article, is that FB will now offer a new set of buttons associated with web content. They will be “Watched,” “Listened” and “Read” buttons, depending on the content type. (I know, you’re terribly excited. But hang with me for a moment.)

First of all, I can relate to the problem of the “Like” button. We recently had some very serious flooding problems in Upstate NY and a FB page was established where people were compiling flood photos and relief information. It’s kind of weird to hit a “like” button on pictures of people’s homes and businesses being destroyed, but I did it anyway. I ran into a similar situation when a friend’s grandmother passed away and the information was posted on Facebook. All of our friends were passing it around so prayers and messages of support could be sent to the family that way.

But hitting a “like” button was rather odd, as I’m sure you’ll agree. “Oh, so your granny died? Well, I certainly like that!

But Facebook is still trying to steer away from having a “dislike” button. As one author noted, it could lead to an explosion of oversharing. But this left me wondering… if there is still a “like” button clearly displayed and somebody goes to the trouble of choosing the “read” or “watched” option, doesn’t that sort of become the default “dislike” button?

I just listened to the latest release from Eclectic Skunk. And BOY does it blow chunks!”

Why would a web content service such as the New York Times want a “dislike” button on their material? The next time Paul Krugman publishes something completely heinous, it would just be an excuse to advertise that millions of readers wish he would crawl under a rock and disappear. I’m not sure that Facebook is solving anything with this move. But I also know there’s plenty of times I’d like to see a “this sucks” button on things I read.

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I dislike Obama. I don’t mind “oversharing” the fact. Where’s my dammm button?

Scotsman on September 22, 2011 at 7:45 PM

Would “dislike” reports on Obama go straight to Attack Watch?

Chip on September 22, 2011 at 7:46 PM

I want a Meh button.

Cicero43 on September 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM

I dislike Obama. I don’t mind “oversharing” the fact. Where’s my dammm button?

Scotsman on September 22, 2011 at 7:45 PM

The “dislike” button would also wake up…. THE ATTACKWATCH.

Electrongod on September 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM

This wasnt really a problem when Facebook was contained to a couple thousand nerds at universities across the country…

Jeddite on September 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM

Scotsman on September 22, 2011 at 7:45 PM

2nd that

cmsinaz on September 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM

Would “dislike” reports on Obama go straight to Attack Watch?

Chip on September 22, 2011 at 7:46 PM

It might.
:)

Electrongod on September 22, 2011 at 7:48 PM

they must be getting bored over there.

rob verdi on September 22, 2011 at 7:51 PM

If it wasn’t because FB has a gazillion games and dumb shares and gifts, I’d welcome MORE buttons. Yep there’s one of the reasons I am not on FB that much.

I welcome the gifts, but I’d like a real cake, a real donut, a dozen roses and, well ykwim.

ProudPalinFan on September 22, 2011 at 7:52 PM

I want a Meh button.

Cicero43 on September 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM

Lol. That would definitely get some use.

Kataklysmic on September 22, 2011 at 7:55 PM

I want a Meh button.

Cicero43 on September 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM

lol

hawkdriver on September 22, 2011 at 7:55 PM

Isn’t there a debate today?

El_Terrible on September 22, 2011 at 7:56 PM

Why would a web content service such as the New York Times want a “dislike” button on their material? The next time Paul Krugman publishes something completely heinous, it would just be an excuse to advertise that millions of readers wish he would crawl under a rock and disappear.
========================

Direct me to the “dislike” button,it would be a hoot to,

“Push it”!!!!!

canopfor on September 22, 2011 at 7:58 PM

I lost my a$$ in the stock market today, and I’m supposed to be worried about stupid button on FaceBook?

Come on Jazz, you can do better!!

Knucklehead on September 22, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Mark will never get over the fact that he is socially inept. He created the biggest “socializing” network that actually hinders real socializing. So I guess not having a “dislike” makes sense. Rejection hurts.

According to theoatmeal.com the average user is a 43 year old woman. If I wanted to know what my mom liked or disliked, I would go ask her.

RDE2010 on September 22, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Jazz: I find this interesting, as my research works with (among other things) social networks. When building a social network, some information you must know to accurately model the network are things like:

What is the nature of a node? (In Facebook and most social networks, a node represents a person or organization.)

What is the nature of a connection between nodes?

This is a far bigger question. You can have relationships, as they’re called, that are either directional (I like you, but you don’t like me) or nondirectional (You and I are friends). For value networks, such as the implied Like network in Facebook, they may also be multivalued. For example, a directional connection could have a value of +1 for ‘Like’ and -1 for ‘Dislike’.

If I recall my social network analysis, Jazz, one of the likely reasons FB is resisting a Dislike button is that multivalued directional networks are among the most difficult to analyze. It’s not that much harder, but if FB has applications to automatically create information from the social network data, and that application can’t handle multivalued networks, then adding a Dislike button from the standpoint of their business model would be a large undertaking.

Scott H on September 22, 2011 at 8:01 PM

Isn’t there a debate today?

El_Terrible on September 22, 2011 at 7:56 PM

Got it. It starts in an hour, I thought it was starting now.

El_Terrible on September 22, 2011 at 8:01 PM

Let me say they are in the process of destroying this platform.

The new way they have locked up the way you view other friend comments and the way they just make changes by email fiat is driving people away.

Everytime you go in the last couple of weeks it’s jacked.

WTG FB…..ya Obama lovin dorks.

PappyD61 on September 22, 2011 at 8:02 PM

Isn’t there a debate today?

El_Terrible on September 22, 2011 at 7:56 PM

El_Terrible:Saddle Up,its on at 9:00PM,in Orlando,Florida on Fox!
=================================================================

Fox News and Google to Host Republican Presidential Debate in Florida on September 22nd
by Fox News Insider Posted in: Bret Baier, Chris Wallace, Florida GOP Debate, Google, Megyn Kelly

FOX News and Google announced today that they will present a presidential debate on September 22nd from 9:00-11:00p ET in Orlando, Florida, in conjunction with the Republican Party of Florida.

http://foxnewsinsider.com/tag/florida-gop-debate/

canopfor on September 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Canopfor: One of the reasons to have a Dislike button would be to gain a better understanding of your market. E.g., if the NYT found out that 90% of self-identified Conservatives Dislike Paul Krugman, they could either 1) Give you a more conservative column instead, or 2) Realize that Conservatives don’t read their paper, and remove the token conservative elements on their staff.

Of course, this assumes that the NYT has data-driven processes, which if true means that they cherry-pick their data.

Scott H on September 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM

What is the Facebook you speak of?

OK… I know what it is, I just waste my time with it.

Hog Wild on September 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM

“just don’t”

Where’s the edit button?

Hog Wild on September 22, 2011 at 8:05 PM

I wish the comment boxes in Hot Air had “Like” and “dislike” buttons. Sometimes I am reading a thread and I really like a bunch of comments and I would just simply like to click a button in agreement rather than highlighting a comment, copy/paste, make my own comment and then submit.

I just want to be catered to with a “Like” button…

HawaiiLwyr on September 22, 2011 at 8:06 PM

I dislike facebook in general. How do I get a dislike icon on my facebook page?

karenhasfreedom on September 22, 2011 at 8:07 PM

Facebook sucks.

Jaibones on September 22, 2011 at 8:07 PM

I wish the comment boxes in Hot Air had “Like” and “dislike” buttons. Sometimes I am reading a thread and I really like a bunch of comments and I would just simply like to click a button in agreement rather than highlighting a comment, copy/paste, make my own comment and then submit.

I just want to be catered to with a “Like” button…

HawaiiLwyr on September 22, 2011 at 8:06 PM

How about a 3rd button, “troll” so we can save a lot of comments from disputing the known trolls here.

karenhasfreedom on September 22, 2011 at 8:07 PM

I lost my a$$ in the stock market today, and I’m supposed to be worried about stupid button on FaceBook?

Come on Jazz, you can do better!!

Knucklehead on September 22, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Knucklehead:Its Tea Party Kamikazi’s who are try’n to crash the
economy,according to MSMNBC!:)

Heres an op-ed piece!
=================================

*****************ATTENTION********************************

****NEW LIBERAL ATTEMPTED NARRATION/TALKING POINTS*******

Heard on MSMNBC,that the Tea Party is responsible for the Stock market crashing,and……

be advised that there are Tea Party KAMIKAZES loose,
reeking havoc,over the USA,and are deliberately trying
to crash the economy!

Video snippet will come soon,meanwhile this article will
suffice,till more information,is known!
===========================================

Winning with Kamikaze Tactics
July 22, 2011
*******************
********************

The dangerous political and economic trends of the past three decades are coming to a head in Washington current debt battle. The Right is armed with its anti-government extremism and its vast propaganda machine, while the Democrats seek compromise and the Left remains disorganized, as Danny Schechter notes.

During World War Two, the Japanese deployed units of pilots who turned their planes into bombs, and sacrificed themselves in the name of their emperor in a holy war against U.S. ships. They would aim for the deck of aircraft carriers and do as much damage as they could at a cost of their equipment and their lives.

Guerrilla armies refined the tactic and made it less pricey. Much lower cost suicide belts with explosives are now used by individuals to terrorize their enemies without having to sacrifice weapons systems.

Now, American politics has spawned its own kamikazes in the persona of ultra-right wing fanatics in suits who are ready to blow up the world financial system if they don’t get their way.
*************************************************************
****************************************************************
*****************************************************************

http://consortiumnews.com/2011/07/22/winning-with-kamikaze-tactics/

canopfor on September 22, 2011 at 6:33 PM

canopfor on September 22, 2011 at 8:07 PM

“I just listened to the latest release from Rebecca Black Eclectic Skunk. And BOY does it blow chunks!”

NickelAndDime on September 22, 2011 at 8:08 PM

Let me say they are in the process of destroying this platform.

The new way they have locked up the way you view other friend comments and the way they just make changes by email fiat is driving people away.

Everytime you go in the last couple of weeks it’s jacked.

WTG FB…..ya Obama lovin dorks.

PappyD61 on September 22, 2011 at 8:02 PM

OMG, you’re right. I haven’t been there in a week and just went and looked, and they’ve changed it all around again.

Second look at MySpace???

Knucklehead on September 22, 2011 at 8:09 PM

How about,

Idiot button,or,

Liberal Attempting Hit Piece,

“Concerned Troll”,

“Thread Jacker”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on September 22, 2011 at 8:10 PM

What’s a Facebook?

rbj on September 22, 2011 at 8:11 PM

When I saw the headline, I thought the problem was that your Facebook cookie followed you everywhere around the web, encouraging your real profile to like things that maybe you didn’t want strangers tracking you to. Changing “like” to “read” is a rather trivial “problem” compared to the privacy Facebook relentlessly tries to take from each of its users.

calbear on September 22, 2011 at 8:12 PM

Considering the rage they have spawned with their recent updates and the rate at which they are tweaking Facebook into complete unusability, I think a dislike button is the least of their worries.

Half the people I know that use Facebook have switched to Google+ in the last two days.

I think the other half would make the switch if they could play Farmville on Google+ since it has become almost completely unplayable after the new upgrade.

Lily on September 22, 2011 at 8:13 PM

Why do people speak of “switching” to Google+ or “dropping” Facebook as if social networking WEBSITES are somehow mutually exclusive? Your preference in social networking addiction is not like dropping Qwest for Comcast, Dish Network for DirecTV, or even Folgers for Maxwell House… /grumbleponies

Jeddite on September 22, 2011 at 8:16 PM

Zuckerman has figured out how to limit Sarah Palin’s explosion on FB

Rovin on September 22, 2011 at 8:20 PM

I’d like to see a “this sucks” button on things I read.

Better yet “This person should be sent to Solitary Confinement for Life”.

GarandFan on September 22, 2011 at 8:24 PM

Best to stay away from the facebook.

Pablo Honey on September 22, 2011 at 8:29 PM

But I also know there’s plenty of times I’d like to see a “this sucks” button on things I read.


Boy you got that right :)

Confederate on September 22, 2011 at 8:30 PM

*******************Fox News Debate************************

****************LIVE****************************************

http://live.foxnews.com/

canopfor on September 22, 2011 at 8:34 PM

canopfor on September 22, 2011 at 8:35 PM

The “Like Only” mindset is the same mindset which avoids scoring Little League Games and gives everyone a completely meaningless trophy instead.

This mentality produces idiots who are incapable of distinguishing friend from foe, good from evil, and success from failure. It produces people who lack both business skills and basic survival skills.

…in other words, LIBERALS!!!!

landlines on September 22, 2011 at 9:11 PM

I lost my a$$ in the stock market today, and I’m supposed to be worried about stupid button on FaceBook?
Come on Jazz, you can do better!!
Knucklehead on September 22, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Come on, Knucklehead, you can do better! If you don’t care about this facebook issue don’t read it. No doubt there are literally thousands of blogs you can go to to deal with the plunging stock market. Or you could start your own blog.

Buy Danish on September 22, 2011 at 9:21 PM

FB could use a “BFD” button

maineconservative on September 22, 2011 at 9:31 PM

But I also know there’s plenty of times I’d like to see a “this sucks” button on things I read.

Which still doesn’t solve the problem of telling the difference between your dismay at the event vs. your disapproval of the way the story is being told.

disa on September 22, 2011 at 9:44 PM

Why do people speak of “switching” to Google+ or “dropping” Facebook as if social networking WEBSITES are somehow mutually exclusive?

Jeddite on September 22, 2011 at 8:16 PM

They are switching which one they are using to bless the world with their ongoing autobiography.

pedestrian on September 22, 2011 at 10:17 PM

Hmm, maybe just a Subscribe button would be helpful, if you don’t want to endorse, but do want to follow.

BKennedy on September 22, 2011 at 10:29 PM

instead of like or dislike or even meh, why just have a button that says share, as that is what most people would be doing anyway. That doesn’t imply you like or dislike something, just that you want to share it with your facebook “friends”.

wakey74 on September 23, 2011 at 12:52 AM

Have not ever and most definitely will not ever partake of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc etc etc websites.

FlatFoot on September 23, 2011 at 1:18 AM

Let me say they are in the process of destroying this platform.

I disabled my Facebook account last night- I used it lightly but it was great for keeping an eye on friends and family.

The recent changes have made it impossible to use, jump the shark moment if I ever saw one.

gdonovan on September 23, 2011 at 5:00 AM

I’ve always wanted a ‘dislike’ button on fb.

Everyone’s complaining about the changes. It took me all of 30 minutes to ‘figure them out’
and I actually like the changes now. It’s amazing how people need things to be so dumbed down just to use them. I’ve gotten so many people asking, how’d you do that? what’s that? how do I do that?
My new answer is “Take 10 minutes and READ, it’s not that difficult”
sheesh
whiny babies everywhere! It’s not like we have to PAY for using it. It’s FREE.

bridgetown on September 23, 2011 at 8:46 AM

How about a “Who gives a sh*t?” button?

RedWinged Blackbird on September 23, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Facebook is teh ghey.

Coronagold on September 23, 2011 at 9:42 AM

I would like to see “like” joined by “dislike” and the middling, non-endorsing “found interesting”

krome on September 23, 2011 at 11:13 AM

How about a “sucks” button? Also an infrequent user of FB. Helpful to maintain contact, but if they lose sight that is what made it attractive in the first place, they risk killing the golden goose. Check with Myspace to see how quickly the bloom can fade from the rose.

pgrossjr on September 23, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Perhaps an, “I have no emotional response to this article whatsoever” button?

They definitely should have a “Krugman Sucks” button. But it shouldn’t be limited to just his articles. You could be shopping at amazon for lawn furniture and hit the “Krugman Sucks” button. You could be reviewing the St. Martin travel website and hit the “Krugman Sucks” button. Checking the local team’s scores? Hit “Krugman Sucks”. I think it would have some universal appeal.

Pablo Snooze on September 23, 2011 at 1:42 PM

According to theoatmeal.com the average user is a 43 year old woman. If I wanted to know what my mom liked or disliked, I would go ask her.

RDE2010 on September 22, 2011 at 7:59 PM

My Mom’s On Facebook

(may be mildly NSFW)

Mary in LA on September 23, 2011 at 1:43 PM