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This chapter is from the book

There’s No Dislike Button

It’s easy to like a post or a comment. But if you don’t like a post or comment on Facebook, there’s no dislike button. The only way to “dislike” is to explain your objection in a comment. If people don’t like your critical comment, they won’t click Like on that comment. Facebook seems to be set up to support the old adage “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

If you say something nice or constructive, people who like your comment will grow in your affection. It always feels good to be liked, and you notice who specifically liked what you said. Bonds between people are strengthened by this positivity. We like people more when they like our posts and comments, and we’re more likely to like their posts in return after they’ve liked ours.

This may be why you don’t see as many rants on Facebook as on other social networks. Even posts that have lots of negative comments might not be seen by as many people as they would on another social network because Facebook often shows only a few of the comments under a post. You have to click to see more. The emphasis, when a post is collapsed, is on the number of people who have interacted with it. It’s more obvious how interactive the post is than what people have said.

I like that Facebook is biased toward the positive because human nature is to complain rather than spread satisfaction. One study found that 75% of people will tell others about a bad experience with a product but only 42% will recommend a product they like.21 This has always been the ugly downside of word-of-mouth marketing. By making it easier to be positive than negative, Facebook might have finally corrected that prejudice. It’s not that human nature is wrong, because spreading warnings helps us survive and avoid catastrophes, but we already have the 24/7 cable news channels for that (and people have taken advantage of it as well with false rumors and urban legends). Facebook serves another function, which is to bring “like” people closer together.

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