Change is scary. No one knows that better than Facebook’s director of design, Julie Zhuo.
While on stage at Fusion’s Real Future Fair, Zhuo recounted the joys and challenges of shaping the world’s largest social network. With 1.55 billion users and counting, Facebook finds it almost impossible to craft a product that pleases everyone.
But Zhuo confirmed there’s one request from users that the company has heard loud and clear.
“If you have a post, and the only button that people can take action on is ‘Like,’ that implies that the content should be positive or should be something that’s likeable,” Zhuo said. “One of the things we’ve heard people tell us over and over again is they want a ‘Dislike’ button, because not everything is likeable content.”
Earlier this fall, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed during a Town Hall meeting that the company is working on it, though TechCrunch speculated that Facebook could bypass the Dislike button in favour of an emoji set.
“We’ve worked on it in earnest,” Zhuo said.
Earlier this week, Twitter rocked the boat when it swapped its star-shaped “Fave” button for a red heart “Like.” Users went berserk online.
Where is the blog post that explains why they’d take a feature we all understood, and had adapted in interesting ways, and made sophomoric.
— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) November 3, 2015
When asked about the controversy, Zhuo had nothing but sympathy for the designers at Twitter. She compared it to entering a friend’s room and rearranging the furniture without permission.
“People’s initial reaction is, ‘Why did you go change my stuff?'” Zhuo said. “It takes time to figure out if it’s for better or worse.”
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