The Grey Like


FB’s semantic re-calibration marches on subtly and relentlessly.
Amongst many other lexical fine-tunings, we already knew that the concept of “disliking” something was a no-no: we were supposed to either Like or Unlike (this one an ambivalent concept, perfect as a not-really-opposite to enjoying something). In other words, we have been invited to playfully fit into a spiral of positivity, no room for dissent, no room for discussion. As a fellow FB user once said to me: “You’re discussing a possible plagiarism, but that’s not the point – do you like it or not?”….

Two subtle changes I noticed this week in this lil’ playground of sinister algorithmic experiments.

The first change is that “Unlike” is actually gone, replaced with either a highlighted “Like” or a grey “Like” (a “like” waiting to happen): the ambivalence is now replaced with two degrees of positivity.

The second change: when answering an invitation, you can now choose between “Yes”, “Maybe” or “Can’t” – the idea of “Don’t want to” is, of course, undesirable: we are supposed to go with every flow we can possibly stomach.

Subtle, yes: but deeply conditioning of our social interpretations. Like everything, attend everything. And smile, pout, tag, retouch while at it.