Happy New Year!
Over the Christmas and New Year season you may have noticed a feature on Facebook that complies the ‘highlights’ of your year into a scrollable photo album.
Based on likes, Facebook shows the post that have had the most interaction and engagement in a photo album that can be shared.
However Facebook posts don’t always feature highlights, but sad circumstances which often prompt well wishes and support from other users.
Due to the nature of the algorithm that Facebook uses for these features, it has caused sad or tragic events to be displayed in the photo album feature for some of its users.
Reported on BBC newsbeat, Eric Meyer described the feature as “jarring” and “wrong” after he logged on to discover a picture of his six-year-old daughter, who had died earlier in the year, was selected.
Facebook has also seen complaints from users after pictures of deceased pets and an urn containing human remains were selected as “highlights” of the year.
More to Facebook than ‘likes’?
This latest Facebook faux pas indicates a need for more ways to express emotion to feature on the network rather than just a ‘like’.
Previously Facebook has pondered a ‘dislike’ button but is reluctant to implement this feature as it may be used to belittle and bully other users. Others have suggested an ‘empathy’ button as it can be used to show that other people are thinking about the user if they are going through an emotional time.
Speaking at a Q&A session in California last year Mark Zuckerberg said a dislike button was one of the most requested features the social network receives from its users.
“One of things we’ve thought about for quite a while is what’s the right way to make it so that people can easily express a broader range of emotions,” Mark Zuckerberg told an audience at Facebook’s headquarters.
“A lot of times people share things on Facebook that are sad moments in their lives. Often people tell us that they don’t feel comfortable pressing ‘like’ because ‘like’ isn’t the appropriate sentiment.”
Keeping advertisers happy?
Implementing a dislike button is bound to make advertisers nervous, by giving consumers another way to express how they really think. Looking at it from this perspective, it is unlikely a dislike button would be introduced.
If Facebook wants to stop emotional or distressing posts being labelled as ‘highlights’ in its features, surely more ways to convey emotion need to be made to avoid future blunders.
Do you think there should be more ways to express different emotions on Facebook?