Social networking software

Facebook Dislike Button: It's the Real Deal (Sorta)

In our last episode of TY4NS, I talked about the Facebook Dislike Button scam and how FB could use a real Dislike button for curmudgeons such as myself.

It turns out there is one, though you won't find it on Facebook. A company calling itself Facemod Inc. has developed a browser add on that lets you "Dislike" to your heart's content (or discontent, as the case may be) by installing a bit of code into your browser.

I installed it, and it works, with some caveats. (More on that below.) But a lot of people are confused about Facemod's button. Why? Because of all the publicity that whole Dislike Button scam got earlier this week, and the fact that the scammers did ultimately drive people to Facemod's site, even though Facemod had nothing to do with that.

[ See also: That Facebook 'Dislike' button isn't real, unfortunately ]

(Company CEO Ron Sharpp tells me he's spent the past 48 hours talking to reporters and trying to convince them his company is on the up and up and has no connections to those scammers.)

So, to recap: The Facemod Dislike Button is real. Not a scam. Are we clear on that?

How it works is pretty simple. Download the executable (Windows only, I'm afraid), and it installs the Dislike Button code into your browser, whether you're using Firefox, Chrome, IE, or Opera. Sharpp says they're now working on a version for Safari on the Mac.

Close your browser, reopen it, log onto Facebook, and voila -- next to each post you'll see a "Dislike" option to the right of the "Comment" and "Like" options. Click it to register your displeasure. If you change your mind, you can always "Undislike." (Though sometimes that option doesn't display, for some reason.)

Of course, if you've already "liked" something in Facebook, the Dislike button won't affect that, leading to possible schizophrenia:

The catch? The only people who will see your Dislike are people who've also installed that browser add-on. Otherwise your crankiness will be invisible to the general public.

Now for the caveats. For one, there's that dodgy (and grammatically ugly) "undislike." Worked for me earlier today, not working now. No idea why.

Two, the site's home page is wrong. As this blog post was being composed, it still contained the following info:

"Because not everyone will have this add-on at first, a comment will also be dispatched on your behalf notifying that you disliked the story using the dislike button."

Don't bother looking for this, it's not there. Sharpp says the company removed this feature after users complained about the deluge of 'dislike' comments they and their friends were getting. They've been too busy fighting off scam accusations to update their home page.

My second, larger beef: When you install Facemod's browser add on, you get a Facebook pop up asking if you want to invite your friends to use it. If you click "Yes, Invite Friends!" Facemod will by default select everyone in your address book -- or, at least, those whose privacy settings allow you to send them invitations.

I didn't know this. When the Invite Friends message popped up, I said yes, and immediately typed the name of one of my test accounts, so I could see how the button worked there, and clicked Send. But Facemod had already selected 421 of my other friends for me and fired off that invite to all of them.

So today I've been hearing from all my friends asking why I invited them to use that "scammy" Dislike button. Not good. Sorry about that folks.

Sharpp says they select everyone by default because users complained about having to manually select all their friends to share the button with. Me, I'd always err on the 'select fewer' side, but then I'm not trying to promote my software.

The problem as always with these things is critical mass. Until enough people install that add on, a third-party external-to-Facebook solution isn't going to do those of us who want to share our displeasure with the world a whole lot of good.

When ITworld TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan isn't Disliking everything, he's giving away Apple iPads at his eSarcasm humor site (seriously). Follow (but don't Dislike) him on Twitter: @tynan_on_tech .

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