This article was published on December 11, 2014

Mark Zuckerberg is thinking about how to let you ‘Dislike’ things on Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg is thinking about how to let you ‘Dislike’ things on Facebook
Owen Williams
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Owen Williams

Former TNW employee

Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their word Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their words friendlier. In his spare time he codes, writes newsletters and cycles around the city.

During Facebook’s second live Q&A session today, Mark Zuckerberg answered questions from the crowd around the company and its plans.

The first question was a good one: is Facebook thinking about adding a dislike button?

Zuckerberg said that it’s something that gets discussed a lot at the company. He doesn’t think there needs to be a voting mechanism or even a specific dislike button, but instead more sentiments for situations where you might not want to “like” something.

He gave the example of when something sad happens, you might not want to like the status. The company is thinking about “other sentiments” and how it could use these with a single button or easy process similar to the way you “like”, but it’s something that won’t be coming in the near term.

He said explicitly that there won’t be a dislike button, but the company is thinking about other ways to express this.


Facebook is seen as a waste of time. How can you fix this?

Zuckerberg didn’t agree that it’s about wasting time; instead, it’s about connecting with friends and family. It’s more what we should be caring about the most. He thinks that “it isn’t wasting time at all and is extremely important for the world.”

How come there are so many updates to the Facebook privacy policy?

Zuckerberg answered that it’s for a lot of reasons, sometimes for explaining how its products tie together and share data (like Messenger, for example). Other times, the policy is updated for new technology and ideas that weren’t possible before.

What are your personal habits that contributed your success, Mark?

“I try to be proactive and keep up with what I can. There are enough things that come up in the company that you could fill your day reactively dealing with them.” Zuckerberg said.

“It takes a long time to make a change in some areas, and you have to take the time to do the things you want to change. Any entrepreneur has experienced how easy it is for your time to be eaten up.”

What would you tell your younger self, Mark?

“You’re going to make mistakes no matter what you do. People try to avoid mistakes or regret having made mistakes, but nobody is perfect. Everyone is constantly making mistakes; one thing I try to tell people here at Facebook is even successful people do many things wrong.”

He went on to say that “you don’t need to be right about everything, what ends up mattering is you only need to get a few things right and you can make important changes in the world that way.”

Is graph search coming to other languages?

Yes! Zuckerberg expressed frustration that it’s been slower than the company wanted to — it’s been two years — and that he’s impatient about it, but said it will roll out for other languages eventually.

On Facebook’s tests

Facebook has a policy of trying new ideas and seeing how they do. The company tweaks algorithms and new features almost daily; he pointed out that if they were to add something like the ‘dislike’ button they will test how it performs before they add it. They only roll out features that have positive feedback.

“Testing is a hugely important part of Facebook overall” said Zuckerberg. There are some restrictions, however; the company doesn’t perform tests on privacy, minors or with new information that hasn’t been gathered before.

He touched on the emotions of people in the community and that they’re careful about testing on user emotions. Apparently they did it because it saw press about users seeing sad content causing them to be sad, so thought it had a “responsibility for the community” to run a “small” test to see how they felt.

Zuckerberg acknowledged that he thinks “we could have done it a lot better”

Making users less social in real life because they are always on Facebook

“I’m always saying the biggest goal of Facebook is to connect people you already know.” Zuckerberg acknowledged that the site really isn’t made for making new friends. He also believes that Facebook is trying to extend the human capacity for maintaining relationships.

“When I have the opportunity to see wife or mom in person, I’ll always take that.” But he says there friends and family that he can’t see in real life every day but he can keep up with them via Facebook posts.

How would he talk to his kids about Facebook? 

Actually, someone asked that if he was married to her, how would they talk to their teenage daughter about Facebook. the answer is pretty straight forward. Don’t allow them on Facebook until they’re 13 and talk to your kids about technology. He also touched on bullying and how the company works with law enforcement, and advised parents to talk to school administrators if they suspect bullying.


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