Dislike buttons should be available on social media, and dislike messages should be visible to everyone. Here’s why.
It used to be that social media was a space for people to connect and share photos of each other. Now, social media is home to news, educational content, entertainment, business, and everything in between.
Take YouTube for example. We usually use it for entertainment, but before exams we use it to clarify concepts. The like to dislike ratio is the most useful metric for quickly finding what you need, especially when it comes to educational content, as it shows the level of satisfaction with content, what views and likes alone don’t do.
Comments are only useful if you read more than one. Also, on most sites, creators can remove comments on their page, even if it’s just constructive criticism or blatant truth. This makes it harder for people to use public opinion to find what they need.
One of the many reasons that only showing likes is detrimental is that social media gives voice to certain people who, frankly, don’t deserve an audience. When a post supports things that are clearly problematic like racism or xenophobia, it’s crucial that social media users can show their disapproval. Because if someone only sees the likes on these posts, and not the dislikes, they will either lose faith in humanity or agree with the posts depending on how it’s worded (look for flat comments for proof).
Not having dislikes is also more likely to trap people in echo chambers. Twitter is exceptionally good at this. Since people don’t see how many people disagree with what they think, they mistakenly believe that their opinions have no dissenters and that they are right. This perhaps goes some way to explaining TikTok’s large volumes of nonsensical content and more polished YouTube content (at least before they hid the public dislike count).
Clickbait is a nuisance on internet media these days, and like/dislike ratios help combat it. If you see a title that says “Beyoncé hits her biggest fan in concert” and the video shows Beyoncé bumping into a big fan while singing, you’d want to dislike it. And you should have the right, the creator wasted your time.
Also, what if an impatient viewer saw the title and didn’t check the info or even watch the full video to verify? #CancelBeyonce would be trending on Twitter, what is it.
Very few agreed with YouTube’s decision to hide the dislike, because “dislike counts for spreading hate.” However, comments and content spread much faster than the number under a thumbs down icon.
Social media grants everyone the right to free speech (in moderation to stop the evil). They should also allow people to express their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with what they see.
On user-generated platforms, most content will be of lower quality. That’s fine, but bad content needs to go away as quickly as possible, to make way for good content that adds value.
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