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Inappropiate usage of the Facebook Like button

Like?The other day I browsed through some news sites to get the latest on the Linkedin hacking incident when I was reminded of the following: the sometimes very inappropiate and confusing usage of the Facebook Like button.

Here is an example from a LinkedIn news story:

Facebook like
So apparently 459 individuals like the fact that some 6.5 million LinkedIn Passwords were hacked? I’m pretty sure that many of these users weren’t in favor of the hacking incident but how are we actually supposed to know? It gets worse here. Renowed screenwriter Nora Epron recently passed away. Being the writer behind movie classics such as “When Harry met Sally” and “Heartburn” (not exactly our office favorite cyber crime movies, but good flicks nonetheless) she is going to be sadly missed by peers and fans alike. The sad story of her passing on Slate.com received 746 “Likes”.

facebook likes

Here is another sad story reflecting the food crisis in Africa. This story received 136 “Likes”.  Maybe they should rename the button to Facebook Yikes!

 Facebook likes

But why do these sites choose the “Like” Button? Websites have a number of ways of presenting social sharing features on their pages including  the Facebook “Like” or “Recommend” button, as well as a”Share” button which was eventually deprecated.  Various 3rd party tools offer Facebook “Share” buttons which you can see below in the post you’re reading.

Technical stuff aside, what are readers actually “liking” when they hit a page’s “Like” button? Are readers approving of the death of a screenwriter or starving children, or perhaps acknowledging the sentimental importance of the story? Lets hear your voice in the comments!

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About Kim Falkner

VP Marketing for SPAMfighter with a passion for IT-security and blogging. Follow me on Google+ (+Kim Falkner) or LinkedIn (Kim Falkner on LinkedIn)
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11 Comments

  1. Adeline says:

    An excellent point you raised here, Falkner. One of the reasons perhaps why visitors would rather click the “Like” button as opposed to “Recommend” or “Share”, and why blogs would rather post a “Like” button is because it has more weight on their social influence. Take for instance Klout. When it checks the social media influence of a blogger or a company, it tallies only the Likes received on posts and articles, as well as the number of comments and wall posts posted. People may be more encouraged to click on either the “Recommend” or “Share” buttons if social media influence checkers like Klout would take these into consideration when it comes to their social media influence ranking.

  2. Kim Falkner says:

    Hi Adeline,

    Thank you for your input but why do the Facebook plugin not simply offer the option of picking between a like and a share button for each post? I am pretty sure the like button discourages a lot of people in those cases i mention and therefore does nothing for the social influence factor.

  3. georgi says:

    totally agree here. those facebook like buttons ought to look a lot different

  4. Jake says:

    I agree, people need to know what they are “liking”. I don’t exactly enjoy logging into facebook and finding that a friend of mine who is known to be clean sharing and liking a picture of a rotting corpse in the middle of the woods. Still can’t get that awful image out of my head.

  5. Aaron says:

    I have noticed that people are so hot to get their Klout scores up that they ask people to like anything on their sites even if the content is not appropriate. That is fine to work on increasing your score. I am doing the same. However, make sure you are asking people to like something worth liking, and not something graphic or inappropriate.

  6. Briana says:

    I have to say I find it extremely amusing how someone on my list detests the Olympics and then the next thing you know, she “liked” something endorsing it. She must be doing it to up her Klout score, why else?

  7. Kim Falkner says:

    There is something a bit desperate about Klout. Just checking the SPAMfighter score on Klout and got a message “Rolling in +K” and apparently we are influental on “Tibet” and “Boats”. Not sure what is going on!

  8. Troy says:

    I hear you. I too think people like things on FB to up their scores on Klout. I think Klout is over rated personally. Who really cares if you have a high Klout score?

  9. Jim says:

    Klout is way over reated IMO. The good news is, it is rare to now see anyone “liking” such gruesome pics such as the type that Jake was talking about, or adult pics, etc. Maybe people are starting to pay more attention to what they are “liking” perhaps?

  10. April says:

    I have seen this kind of thing too and if it has to do with impressing others with having a high Klout score it makes sense. I am always careful with what I like on FB.

  11. James F. Pasquini says:

    Don’t people realize that in most cases, when they “Like” an article they, are giving their personal info – or at least some of their info – to the sender of the article? I don’t use FB but my wife does, so I’m not completely sure of exactly what info is “shared” when one clicks the “Like” button.

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