THE BLOG

Dear Mark Zuckerberg... Hugs Not Hate!

16/09/2015 15:40 BST | Updated 15/09/2016 10:12 BST
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Dear Mark Zuckerberg,

We heard on the radio this morning that you are considering adding a 'dislike' button feature to Facebook.

Here are the reasons why we think this is not necessary and some alternative options!

Reasons Not to Include a Dislike Option

1. This option is already available on YouTube (in the form of a thumbs down). It can make a person, who has worked so hard on their singing/guitar-playing/voicing their opinions feel a bit blue. And hated. And we have enough hate in the world already...agree?

2. Speaking of the world... every day we hear negative news. Every. Single. Day. It's almost as if we are addicted to hearing it. But we need to recast this mould and offer something different. Could Facebook lead the way on our path to a more peaceful world rather than inciting people's choices to something less positive?

3. Whilst it may be used in context for some posts as you suggest (the ones we clearly cannot 'like' such as 'My cat died this morning' or 'I had my leg chopped off today') that little button will also be open to abuse. For the breastfeeding woman who posts a picture and suddenly is bombarded with thousands of dislikes. The teen who puts up a photo and his peers decide they just don't like it. The person who writes a heartfelt plea or poem and suddenly there is transparency in what friends think and to make it worse, being able to see who didn't like it!

We see a lot of abuse on Facebook already. If I don't like a post, I keep scrolling or I invite my opinion in a loving way. We need less arguments on the web and more consultations. Peace is the goal!

4. Thumbs down is so powerful. But Thumbs Up is really supporting and encouraging. I am a teacher and when I work with children, I focus on their strengths and their potential. Can we do that on Facebook too? There are a lot of youngsters on there and they need to learn that yes, opinion is good... but we've all seen the posts that gets thousands of abusive comments. The ripple effect of negativity is huge. We just don't see it because we unplug. But that person may be very sad that night. We can avoid this!

Suggestions!

We can either continue to do the 'I 'liked this but of course I give you my deepest sympathy' or... how about a 'Hug' button (that was a suggestion from my husband. He also suggests a series of emoticon buttons such as 'Man Hug, With You Bro, I Got Your Back.)

Facebook is all about interaction and whilst we think we live in an instant world, we need to get back to connection and our roots. How about brainstorming new features that enable the good people who use Facebook to really live their lives, enjoy living, make lasting friendships and love one another. It does this in part already of course but more, more, more!

I watch the news sometimes and I really do dislike what I see. But if I sit there pressing 'dislike' buttons all day, how am I changing the world? We need to be inspired into action and movement. And dear Mark, you are in a most fortunate position right now to spearhead this action. How can we use social media to truly change the world? Let's consult!

I really appreciate Facebook. It has enabled me to be in contact with some of my nearest and dearest and I hope to be able to use it for many years to come. Let us stop pretending. We know that this new feature will bring a lot of discord and pain to many people and even with all good intentions, will not be used for the greater good. With power comes great responsibility and I feel that any move towards peace from very successful entrepreneurs is a most worthy and noble goal indeed. The very fact that I heard this on the news this morning then read it on the BBC whilst meanwhile, the world is in travail and rocking violently from side-to-side shows how we need to re-group and realign our vision... we need remedies now and to put all our attention and focus on healing this planet.

With sincere good wishes and plenty of 'likes'

Victoria Leith (mother to two girls, teacher and musician who likes to be liked!)