Facebook is considering ways users can express their feelings beyond the Like button, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during a Q&A at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park Thursday.
“We’re thinking about it,” Zuckerberg said when asked whether the social network would ever add the long-requested dislike button.
He quickly clarified that such a button likely wouldn’t say “dislike” on it. Instead, he said, people often want to react to posts they see on Facebook with sentiments other than “like.”
“Everyone feels like they can just push the Like button, and that’s an important way to sympathize or empathize with someone,” Zuckerberg told the audience. But there are times when you may want the simplicity of a one-click response but a “like” doesn’t feel appropriate, he added.
“We need to figure out the right way to do it so it ends up being a force for good, not a force for bad,” he said — because a “dislike” or other negative sentiment could easily be used for the wrong reasons. It’s worth noting this isn’t the first time Zuckerberg has claimed to be “thinking about” a dislike button— he’s made similar comments as far back as 2010.
The Facebook CEO also defended the social network’s recent controversial real names policy, which requires Facebook users to identify themselves by their legal names, saying it encourages accountability among users.
“It’s part of building a safe community,” he said.
“On Facebook, most people refer to themselves by their real name and that’s a very important part of our culture.”
The goal, Zuckerberg added, is to make the social network a “reflection of real world relationships” and that the real name policy “grounds everyone in that reality.”
He also addressed another recent controversy: Facebook’s experiments. Specifically, the highly cited emotional manipulation study that experimented with hiding various posts on users’ news feeds to see whether it would affect their mood.
“Testing is a really important part of how Facebook works overall,” Zukerberg explained.
He initially defended the test saying the company thought it “had a responsibility to the community” to investigate issues that could affect the “emotional or psychological wellbeing” of users. “We could have done it a lot better,” he said.
Zuckerberg was also asked about his New Year’s resolutions, which included becoming fluent in Mandarin. He revealed his goal for 2014 was to send one thank-you note a day, and said he’s still not sure about his 2015 goal.
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