Facebook's Dislike Button (on Medium)

In a public Q&A in Menlo Park yesterday afternoon, Mark Zuckerberg discussed a question many of us have probably mused about: why doesn’t Facebook have a Dislike button? The little blue thumbs-up is ubiquitous across the web these days; why not a little blue thumbs-down to go with it? Zuckerberg explained that Facebook has long considered adding a kind of “empathize” button (for when a friend shares a sad or difficult moment from her life, and it feels quite jarring to respond with a Like), but that they were actively thumbs-down on the idea of having a Dislike button that would be used to express negative feedback. As Zuckerberg put it, “some people have asked for a Dislike button because they want to be able to say ‘That thing isn’t good’. And that’s not something that we think is good for the world. So we’re not going to build that.”

I don’t have any objections to Facebook’s position here, it seems very reasonable given Facebook’s aims and style. But I do think the consequences of the current setup highlight some interesting examples of a statistical concept called “Selection Bias”: if the information that reaches us on a particular topic is not truly representative of the broader pool of information out there, we can easily become biased when we try to draw conclusions.

Read it on Medium.com

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