Facebook users have been asking the company for a “dislike” option for years, and it seems the company has granted their request — sort of. While most people would expect to see the long-awaited thumbs down icon alongside the other post Reactions — like, love, haha, wow, sad, and angry — instead, the option is in Facebook Messenger.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook is testing out the Messenger Reactions. This means that only some users can see the Reactions, but if it proves popular, the feature could roll out to everyone. The way it works is similar to the feature in other apps like Slack and iMessage and allows users to hover over a message and pick a reaction to it. The reactions include both a thumbs up and a thumbs down, which Facebook told TechCrunch they see more like a “yes and no” reaction, rather than a “like and dislike.”
The question is whether this feature is useful. It’s clearly an attempt by Facebook to ensure Messenger can compete with newer conversation and chat apps, but perhaps Facebook should stick to what it does best: creating a social community through news feeds and allowing folks to casually chat with Messenger. Apps like Slack fill a gap that maybe Facebook isn’t meant to occupy, one that supports work conversations, as opposed to casual chats.
Facebook has repeatedly said that it would not add a “dislike” reaction to avoid filling feeds with too much negativity. But with the “sad” and “angry” reactions, they’ve already given users the option to choose emotions that aren’t just rainbows and confetti. Why not just give people what they want and add a “dislike” reaction to posts and leave Messenger alone? Facebook doesn’t have to fill every single social need, though I suppose as it scrambles to stay relevant in the face of new and trendier social media platforms it will throw whatever it can at the wall and see what sticks. This time it’s Messenger reactions, which if you ask me, will just clutter the chat window with more unnecessary information to consume.