I vote against the proposal for a DISLIKE button, I vote for the DONATE button

The idea finally struck at the eleventh hour to talk about a hot topic [is this how they’re called?] on social media networks: the new button Facebook is working on.

Mark Zuckerberg clearly stated that there will be no DISLIKE button, although a lot of people want one. I found his statement on Chinezu’s blog, so let’s read it again:

You know, it took us awhile to get here. Because you know, we didn’t want to just build a Dislike button because we don’t want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts. That doesn’t seem like the kind of community we want to create. You don’t want to go through the process of sharing some moment that’s important to you in your day and then have someone down vote it. That isn’t what we’re here to build in the world.

But over the years of people asking for this, what we’ve kind of come to understand is that people aren’t looking an ability to downvote other people’s posts. What they really want is to be able to express empathy.

Before I could even find out that Mark doesn’t want a DISLIKE button, I left a comment on an article written by Andrei Vulpescu, trying to suggest a brave and constructive idea, that basically follows the spirit that the founder of this well-known social network is pursuing:

I don’t think we’ll get a negative button like Dislike, it’s not Mark Zuckenberg’s style.

However, I’d like a “Tip” or “Donate” button for direct payments (micro-payments, actually, worth 5 or 10 cents or 0.01 Bitcoin) to people who publish quality material. Think how much journalists, bloggers and vloggers could earn, not to mention the artists and DJs, photographers, painters and graphic designers! And what a great monitoring opportunity that would be to labels, managers and NGOs!…

And Facebook would turn into a market outlet and an online bank… Just think about it: in spite of its dominant position amongst its social media peers, Facebook is the place to be for promotions and communication, while YouTube is the channel that helps you earn money as a content creator… Why would not Mark try to help people to ALSO EARN MONEY, not just publicity? Think about it — you’d earn 200–300€ from 10,000 “tips” for a picture or text, and you’d give a quarter to Facebook for brokering all that…

Why I’d like to have a DONATE button next to the LIKE one

A DONATE button, created through a software solution that would enable quick and cheap transfers even for very small amounts [micro-payments] would [again] revolutionise the way data is distributed and monitored! So it would fit just right next to Mark Zuckerberg’s ambitions. :-)

Public figures with a page reach of 1–2 million people per Facebook status [we’ve got plenty in Romania, as well] would probably receive 0.5–1% from donations of [at least] 1 cent. What would 1 cent men to an American who likes a song, a clip or a well-written article? It’s an insignificant amount even to Romanians earning a middle-sized income.

One cent received by clicking the DONATE button would leverage anywhere from 50 to 2,000 dollars PER STATUS for the public figures mentioned above! Even in the worst-case scenario, a valuable content creator [blogger, journalist, photographer, artist, DJ, painter, film director, graphics designer, etc.] would receive 20–50 dollars per status. For an average of 10 quality statuses per month [a realistic low], such an artist could earn an additional 200–500 dollars per month. And this is considering the most pessimistic predictions, for 1 cent donations [although I’d love to have a DONATE button which lets me choose to donate 2, 5, 10 cents or more, if we want].

Attention: these incomes earned via Facebook are an addition to what a content creator could earn via YouTube [in the case of vloggers, artists, DJs, instrument players, film directors, dancers], iTunes/Spotify/Deezer, blogs, e-publishing, events, crowd-funding campaigns [Kickstarter, IndieGogo, Patreon]. It is an income that is earned by monetising an audience built in time, by means of effort and investment / most public figures and all brands invest in their image on Facebook! It’s time for them to earn something from it, if they deserve it.

Micro-payments [amounting to 1 cent, 10 cents, 1–2 dollars/Euros] are expensive if you use the classic banking system. It would be a true revolution if Facebook welcomed Bitcoin, which is a virtual currency in no way related to banks, governments, borders and nations; it is a 100% digital product, born on the Internet and thanks to the Internet. I talked about how Bitcoin could revolutionise the music industry my article: A bitcoin! A bitcoin for my kingdom!

Vlogger Zmenta and blogger/journalist Andrei Vulpescu pointed out that donations aren’t well-received [and well-understood] by the Romanian public. Here’s my answer to this:

Facebook would not make a new button for Romania, but for the whole world. Facebook competes with YouTube [Google] and Apple. And donations are doing well already, look at the billions earned by Kickstarter [annually!]. We live in a digital ecosystem, there are a lot of people already using PayPal and Bitcoin… why would you need cash when you could buy ANYTHING with virtual money?

This is true, Romanians don’t donate money too often, but Americans do it almost every day, either online or offline. And Facebook is an American company which, by the way!, for a while, was entertaining the idea of intermediating financial transactions as part of the platform. Google already has and is strongly promoting Google Wallet, while Apple launched Apple Pay last year! It looks like Facebook wants to join the game, according to news I heard in the spring of 2014:

Facebook requested an opinion from the Irish authorities about its chances to become a financial services provider, with focus on money transfer and a digital wallet platform, writes Mediafax, according to statements given to Financial Times by people involved in the process.

This is how users could access a digital wallet stored on Facebook and make payments or money transfers.

So Facebook will broker e-payments and retain a commission. This is not a rumour, but a reality.

We’re not quite far from a DONATE [or TIP/PAY] button on Facebook. We just have to get rid of the obsession with the DISLIKE button, and look forward to the future.

Photo: Shutterstock.

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