People have been calling for it for years, and Mark Zuckerberg said at a company town hall meeting today that a "dislike" button is finally coming to Facebook. "People have asked about the 'dislike' button for many years, and probably hundreds of people have asked about this, and today is a special day because today is the day that I actually get to say we are working on it, and are very close to shipping a test of it," Zuck said, per CNBC. The concept is tricky, he explained, because "we don't want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people's posts," as they do on, for example, Reddit. "That doesn't seem like the kind of community that we want to create: You don't want to go through the process of sharing some moment that was important to you in your day and have someone 'downvote' it."
What people "really want is the ability to express empathy," he said, per Mashable. "Not every moment is a good moment. ... If you are sharing something that is sad, then it may not feel comfortable to 'like' that post." Zuckerberg says Facebook expects to start testing soon, then launching a wider roll-out. As Mashable notes, the move could have big implications: "When a Dislike button becomes a reality, companies and users would have to radically shift the strategy of what they post." And as The Verge notes, "Facebook doesn't want people using 'Dislike' as a way to harass or disrespect other people, and—more cynically—you can argue that it certainly doesn't want people Disliking the sponsored posts that companies pay to put in your News Feed." Indeed, Zuck said back in December that any such button would have to be "a force for good, not a force for bad." (Read more Facebook stories.)