Mark Zuckerberg just announced in a public Q&A that Facebook is working on adding a new button to its commenting features. Though some have  jumped to the conclusion that this will be equivalent to a “dislike” button, Zuckerberg left room for interpretation about what exactly the buttons will do.

“Not every moment is a good moment if you share something that’s sad like a refugee crisis that touches you, or a family member passes away,” said Zuckerberg. “It may not be comfortable to ‘like’ that post…I do think it’s important to give people more options than liking it.”

facebook-dislikeThough details are vague, the announcement indicates that a new icon is being developed that will allow users to express a sentiment that’s more negative, or specific, than “like.”  Whether that will lead to better ways to show empathy or fostering expressions of disapproval is still in question.

Direct selling brands and their social media folks will want to keep a close eye on this important development. Accurately gathering these new insights will be critical to understanding audiences. The feature will no doubt increase the richness of data Facebook gets from users, and will likely improving targeting capabilities and sentiment analysis.

Of course, a “dislike” or “disagree” button is likely to increase risk of misuse and attacks on companies and brands.  A comprehensive compliance monitoring and reputation management tools set in place will be critical to meet the challenge.

UPDATE (10/20/2015)

Facebook hasn’t introduced a ‘dislike’ button, but there are six new emoji reactions to choose from.

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Earlier this month, Facebook started testing the new reaction buttons in Ireland and Spain in the hopes of improving the feature leading up to a global rollout. As well as the classic ‘like’ button, users can now choose from six other options to express their feelings on a status, picture or video.

Among the new emojis is an ‘angry’ reaction button, which would be the closest Facebook has come to a ‘dislike’ button. Though it might be perceived as an indirect dislike to a post, Facebook’s intent is to address the request, while possibly diminishing negativity.

From a direct selling brand perspective, these new buttons may help further read audience sentiment and brand perception. This will be valuable information that can help shape brand strategy and messaging on a core business and social media level.

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