ReadWriteWeb posted an editorial piece on why the “dislike” button is not coming to Facebook. I can see the author’s point about how the button could have adverse effects upon brands (I’m assuming the “Ripoff Report” sort of effect, in the worst case).
However, from my own perspective and outside of the business perspective, I haven’t exactly found any specific function for the “dislike” or “mod down” button idea, other than to visually show how many people didn’t like an item. Unlike the controversial function of the button on Digg and Reddit (in which a sufficient number of mods-down results in a demotion of the item from the all-important front page), the likes of Facebook and Twitter do not have such all-important front pages which would allow for the easy disappearance of a promoted item due to sufficient amounts of “dislikes” or “downtweets”.
At present, YouTube’s “dislike” button also lacks a specific function other than denoting the number of people who simply did not like a particular video. Instead, an alternate link for the “reporting” of the video to YouTube censors appears when one clicks the “dislike” button.
That’s it. No other function. No impact beyond an aesthetically-skin-deep perception of “democracy”.
Perhaps this neutered version of the “user moderation” feature is useful to those who simply wish to promote their brands or content (and not accept critique of the same), but it bodes ill for future experiments in online user engagement, especially those which may take a functional cue from the likes of Digg and Reddit.