Computing Columnist: Facebook Dislikes
What do you do on Facebook when you read a post which you disagree with? Or when you read a post about something sad, bad, mad or dangerous to know? (Bonus points if you get that reference!)
People have actually been clamoring for a "Dislike" button on the popular social site. In fact, not too long ago a petition for such a button was signed by three million people and submitted to the popular, time-sucking site. So far, no go.
While a newish app created by Dean Terry of the University of Texas at Dallas doesn't exactly answer that plea, it does allow you to express disapproval, distaste, even disgust by declaring someone or something an "Enemy." The app is called "EnemyGraph," and it is, contrary to the author's prediction, still available on Facebook, though you do have to endure a warning that you are entering "unsafe" territory before you get to it.
The app's tagline says it all: "Because it take more than just Friends." As any FB user knows, the site is based on "Friends." You "friend" people to share thoughts, pictures, ideas and other information with them. You are free to "Like" and "Share" your friend's thoughts, picture, ideas and other information. You can "Comment," which is an opportunity to express negativity about a post, and probably the worst - though not public - thing you can do is "unFriend" someone: remove them from your Friend list.
But you can't just push a button and express dislike or disapproval - unless you're using EnemyGraph.
Now, granted, EnemyGraph doesn't solve the problem of how to express sadness when a Friend posts something like "My dog just died," but we'll shelve that for now, and just concentrate on the disapproval/disgust type of dislike. The app explains itself this way: "Have a problem with something or someone? You can list & share enemies or any Facebook page: politicians, bands, places, groups, things etc."
It shares this information the way all other personal information is shared: you can set levels, from the world at large to just Friends. And, the app also warns "This app may post on your behalf, including enemies you declared, archenemies you declared and more." I'm not exactly sure what that means, though as you proceed through the install process you are asked if the app can post, with your permission, enemy information "on your behalf," with the reassuring disclaimer that "we'll always ask first."
I'm not sure if the developers meant to do it this way, or if FaceBook, er, "disliking" the application, has made it purposefully confusing, but when you agree to install the application, you are left staring at a big, blank space with some tiny print - which turns out to be the app's options - at the bottom. One of these options is "create a page," and that's the key to EnemyGraph.
Select this option, and things will churn along for a while, and eventually, you will get a page offering you the option to create a page about a local business or place, an entertainer or form of entertainment, a brand, and so on. So let's say you really, really, really didn't like Ashton Kutcher. There you go - start an "Artist, Band or Public Figure" page dedicated to your deep abiding hatred of the "Punk'd" star.
Since I don't really have any hatreds I care to share with my Friends, I'm stopping there. For now, anyway. The election is still a few months away! But, if you're my Facebook Friend, I'll keep you posted!