Why Doesn’t Facebook Have a ‘Dislike’ Button?

Now, I understand that for individuals, it isn’t necessary for there to be a “dislike” button or a “-1” button. No individual should be forced to have such on their Facebook page or their Google+ profile. But for companies and organizations, especially publicly-funded organizations, or organizations which solicit donations, or public officials who solicit our votes – for these, there really should be a “dislike” button or a “-1” button on their profiles or pages. In fact, without them, we are on the course to further tyranny, injustice, and atrocity.

History has shown what happens when people are enticed to focus exclusively on positive aspects of matters of concern: tyrants and systems of tyranny have risen to prominence for all humanity’s detriment as a result.

We have this tendency and are thus easily manipulated because we as human beings naturally want to focus on the positive aspects of things to keep ourselves happy. No one wants to have their bubble burst. It is in our nature to want to ignore the negative aspects of matters of concern, especially when we think there is nothing we can do about them. It is in our nature to want to ignore the effects of our activity as long as it affects someone else, the “other”, or some distant people.

The lack of any “dislike” button or “-1” button if not manipulating us, is at the least celebrating our tendency to focus only on the positive. As such, it threatens to lead us to the continuation and perhaps even exacerbation of dire circumstances for many “others” around the world. Providing only for the opportunity to “like” something or only “+1” something essentially solicits endorsements based on only one’s feeling without regard to any pertinent facts, analysis, or consideration of any ethical concerns.

Without “dislike” or “-1” buttons, we would never know how many might have clicked “dislike” or “-1” if they had had the chance to do so. Any concern other than that we should “like” it or “+1” it too goes through our minds when we see the hundreds of thousands or millions of “+1s” or “likes” of a particular company’s Facebook or Google+ page. We don’t think if we should be aware of anything other than that before making our purchasing decisions, such as, for instance, how well the company and its supply chains affect ecosystems on the local or global scale, or what sorts of effects does the company and its supply chain have on employees, local people, or humanity at large. Without “dislikes” or “-1″‘s we would never know how many customers or employees might have had bad experiences with the company or its products and services.

We would never know how many people might “dislike” or “-1” an organization because of their experience with it, such as how it might make ineffective, or inefficient use of donations. We would never know many might “dislike” or “-1” policies as the result of being victimized or suffering injustice as a result of a policy. We would never know how many would “dislike” or “-1” a public official because of his or her stance on a policy issue, a scandal, etc..

As a result of not having “dislike” or -1 buttons, you could have a Facebook page or Google+ page with hundreds of thousands or millions of “likes” or “+1″s while by ‘it’, whether a company, organization, or public office, there could result the destruction of local environments, the debasement or humiliation of entire communities, deaths of employees, or even the theft, abuse, or cheating of customers or constituents. Without “dislikes” or “-1s” the number of “likes” and “+1s” becomes a misrepresentation of the trust-worthiness of the public official, company, or organization.

“Disliking” or “-1ing” matters of concern to us would be enormously positive in effect. Companies, organizations, and public officials, etc. would be incentivized to act ethically, take more consideration into the value of their customers’ and general publics’ opinions. Not having “dislikes” or “-1″s essentially suggests that they don’t care what we think. Not having “dislike” buttons or “-1” buttons suggests they don’t care about our negative experiences or the potential negative effects they have on their employees, customers, the general public people, or the world.

We have to petition them to work together with the media, the academic institutions, and knowledge and ethics-focused crowdsourcing initiatives such as Wikipedia.org and Wikiprogress.org, because if we are going to have the opportunity to “like” and “dislike”, “-1” and “+1” something, we need to take on the responsibility to embed links to the sound facts and analysis used in our decisions. Working with ethics and knowledge-focused initiatives, Facebook and Google could come up with an easy way for us to embed these links which others in our circles or networks or even the general public could then follow to learn why we disliked or liked something, or why we “-1-ed” or “+1-ed” something. This way everyone could be empowered to base their decisions according to not only their feelings but their conscience and their appraisal of sound facts and analysis, and, therefore, help to alleviate present-day injustice as well as prevent future injustice.

The fact is, people as well as many species are dying, starving – suffering in many respects because of the decisions we make everyday. I know many don’t want to have their bubbles’ burst, but we cannot continue focusing on the positive and ignoring the negative effects of our activity indefinitely. It will only lead to tyranny, injustice, and atrocity in the end.