Facebook Product Engineer Talks Facebook Future And The Dislike Button In Reddit AMA

Today Facebook Product Engineer Bob Baldwin sat down for a Reddit AMA to answer Redditors’ questions about all things Facebook. During his time on the Reddit forum, Baldwin was asked questions that ranged from his feelings about the current direction the company is taking to his personal development experiences. Baldwin told commenters he would be happy to explain different products, the thinking behind different features and his thoughts on the successes and failures of the Facebook company. And staying true to his word Baldwin remained candid and honest throughout all of his answers.


The Best And Worst Of Facebook

Baldwin began working for Facebook in 2009 and has worked on almost all the site’s major features including Photos, Weather, Messages, Pokes, Events, Questions, Groups and Calendar. He has also been involved in numerous Facebook hackathons, which are creative events in which Facebook engineers brainstorm and pursue ideas for future features and apps. With four years of experience under his belt, Baldwin finds he is most proud of his work on the Groups app because it has allowed Facebook users to communicate with a small group in a more intimate way than before. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Baldwin admits his most difficult project has been developing the Question feature. “Questions. It was too hard to build a community around this on Facebook, so quality was never that great,” writes Baldwin. “It’s also difficult to compare usage of a specialized content type, like questions, to the types of content that can be posted every day (status updates, photos, etc).”


The Dislike Button

But the big question remains: When will Facebook implement a dislike button on the site?

Baldwin responds: “Actions on Facebook tend to focus on positive social interactions. Like is the lightest-weight way to express positive sentiment. I don’t think adding a light-weight way to express negative sentiment would be that valuable. I know there are times when it’d make sense, like when a friend is having a rough day, or got into a car accident like my sister yesterday (she’s okay!). For these times, a nice comment from a friend goes a long way.” And there you have it.


The Facebook Future

While Baldwin says that he cannot predict what will happen in 20 years for the company, he shares that Facebook is moving away from the web and instead apps and features are being geared toward mobile devices. “I’m very supportive, in particular with the focus on mobile,” comments Baldwin when asked about the Facebook future. “It’s undeniable the trends are moving away from web towards primarily mobile usage. In keeping with this direction, I’ve started to build for iOS, in addition to web/platform.”

Throughout the rest of the thread, Baldwin took the opportunity to talk tech and give advice to engineers looking to break into the social media landscape. You can read the thread here.

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