Facebook announces “Unlike” button. What will be the impact on Sentiment Analytics (Opinion Mining)?
Mark Zuckerberg proposed this new feature to an internal corporate Town Hall on September 15th. I foresee it significantly altering the way Facebook employs its Sentiment Analytics. We will now have a very complex “duality” to consider in determining sentiment. A way to understand not only what people like, but what they don’t like. And why. He added that the button will not be like Reddit’s up/down vote because he feels that Facebook members need to express sympathy or regret in posts.
Online Behavior “Modification”
Matthew Slotkin provided a different perspective on a recent Mirror Daily story (Why Facebook’s Announced Dislike Button Is Risky) He reported that “Critics argued that negativity and hatred would spike on the social network, so disliking itself would become a risk. Therefore, they suggested that ‘dislike’ could be made anonymous.” He even suggests an increase in online bullying and trolling that would become “intolerable.” It’s unclear how Facebook will be rolling this out. I do get the impression that they are aware of it’s negative impact on their network.
From a psychological standpoint, “Marketers will be faced with yet another psychological conundrum: How will the introduction of the “dislike” button impact the use of the “like” button?” states Dr. Pamela Rutledge for Psychology Today.
First, how will Facebook users react and click? Second, how will the marketers figure out what the consumers are actually doing so they know how to adjust their ad strategies?
In contrast, she prefaces one of the downsides of the dislike button which stood out to me, because of it’s potential effects on the ego given the premise that “someone with depressive tendencies or with excessive reliance on external validation would ruminate rather than move forward.” Consider the amount of Facebook friends you know where their Facebook Like button tallies have a direct connection to their dopamine receptors?
Imagine, for a second, what the down-turned thumb will do to the hypersensitive. We’re social beings and Social Media is dramatically modifying our direction as a species.
Given the proliferation of negative sentiment and social media users that are “pre-primed” to get mad at something (anything) to alleviate their impulsive, reptilian cognition, I envision a multitude of concerns that go beyond just barking and shaming people from the safety of their smartphone.
Facebook utilizes the “Like” response as one of a multitude of data points factored into their opinion mining algorithms which determine ads that you may want to see, as well as those that you may not want to see. This information is integral to the vast majority of integrated ad campaigns that attracts marketers to the social network.
Additionally, just by “liking” something, data “can be used to automatically and accurately predict a range of highly sensitive personal attributes including: sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious and political views, personality traits, intelligence, happiness, use of addictive substances, parental separation, age, and gender,” according to a 2012 study from Cambridge University. Link here: