Sometimes the “Like” button is not as clear cut as it seems. Even Zuck would agree.
ZDNet reports that a Facebook design flaw has accidentally convinced some readers that Zuckerberg is endorsing Republican Party presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
The awkward “Liking” took place earlier this week. Zuck “liked” a story by Salon.com’s Farhad Manjoo, who posted the following status along with a link to mittromney.com: “Try, just looking at the Romney logo without seeing the word MONEY.” When that image shows up on users’ news feeds, however, it appears as if Zuck “liked” the Mitt Romney link rather than Manjoo’s comment, coupled with a link to the Romney website. Whatever happened to the “Like” button making things simple?
On Manjoo’s Facebook profile, however, it’s pretty clear that Zuckerberg “liked” his status update joke. Check it out. Facebook prominently displays Zuckerberg’s name as one of the 526 people who, as of right now, “like” this post.
Seeing this out of context in the main news feed might lead some to believe otherwise. It looks like Zuck is endorsing Romney. Here’s the screengrab of the news feed view that ZDNet posted:
This sort of screw-up is just a byproduct of Facebook’s annoying oversharing features that clutter up users’ news feed.
Do Facebook users really need to know what their friends “like” in as prominent a spot as the main news feed? The same goes for the news ticker, which brings a micro-view to what every single one of a user’s Facebook friends likes and comments on.
Just think: If Facebook tweaked both the news feed and the news ticker to show users content that has real value, rather than the mundane activities of other Facebook users, “like” ambiguities might happen a lot less.
But back to the whole Manjoo/Zuckerberg/Romney “like” thing.
On Manjoo’s side, the status update could have been clearer and more poignant if he just wrote that joke as a status update, and included an image of Romney’s name-as-logo. (Switch two letters around and Romney spells “money”!)
Still, the Zuckerberg “like” would have come up the same in the main news feed. It just would have looked like Zuck “liked” an image of Romney’s logo, which could also be misconstrued.
So to completely avoid any Facebook false endorsement snafus like this one, Manjoo should have posted this as a Twitter-like, witty one-liner status update. Of course, that would have been too simple, even by Facebook standards.
A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.