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Is it Always Right to Like? A Look at the Facebook Button

By Justine TimoteoAug 17, 2012

Facebook Like FeatureOh the Facebook “Like.” Users have complained for years about updates or new additions Facebook makes to its site without much warning. And yes, I too have been confused many times after logging onto my page to discover some new feature that wasn’t there the night before. However, I personally liked the “Like.” I thought it was clever and, dare I say, cute to be able to give a little thumbs up to my friends’ statuses or wall posts. But of course, I was immediately bombarded with group requests and petitions demanding for a dislike option. I always assumed people just wanted the thumbs-down option so they could disagree with what someone else posted … that is until I started diving into the world of Facebook pages.

Liking What You Like

 I “Liked” companies or products that I—not shocking—actually liked. But then, one day, a friend shared a post from an organization's viewpoint I didn’t particularly agree with, and for the first time realized that I had to “Like” the organization in order to follow along with what it was doing on Facebook. I hesitated. Did I really want all my friends, who know my personal interests and beliefs, seeing that I “Liked” a counterpoint? 

Backlash from the Like

A recent CNN article explained the negative effect “liking” something could have. In 2009, Daniel Ray Carter, a deputy sheriff in Virginia, “liked” his boss’ opponent’s page during election time and was later fired when his boss won and found out. A Federal Judge ruled against Carter’s wrongful termination suit citing, “a Facebook ‘like’ isn't protected speech, in part because ‘likes’ are not ‘actual statements.’” Facebook’s legal team has since offered a brief for Carter’s appeal, which is slated to win.

What's the Answer?

So if someone disagrees with something an organization is saying, is there another way for him or her to follow a page's content on Facebook without “liking” it?

For the time being, the answer to the latter question is no. There have been suggestions to change the actual word “Like” to something more neutral, like “Follow,” so it can appease people who are simply interested in a page’s posts. However, that would be a huge overhaul in terms of marketing. Think of every company or article, on every site or any piece of advertising element that utilizes the “Like” button; all would need to be updated. Not to mention the effect Facebook’s terminology has on society even in everyday conversations.

I mean, who knew the simple term “Like” could cause such headaches? What do you think?

 

photo credit: catspyjamasnz



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