Facebook is considering giving its users a less cheery alternative to the ‘like’ option: a ‘sympathise’ button.
Many people come across a sad status update from a friend while browsing the popular social networking site — that they have been fired; they have had a death in the family; some unfortunate event or may be just a bad day.
They want to show the person they care, but do not know him or her well enough to say anything that does not sound trite.
Then they see that someone has — perhaps accidentally — hit the ‘like’ button.
Now, may be there is a deeper Freudian slip there, but ask these likers and they will say: “I was trying to show sympathy, but ‘like’ was my only option.”
There are many situations where ‘like’ is the antithesis of the response people may be trying to convey when they are forced to respond with such limited options.
A Facebook engineer has come up with a solution for such a situation: a ‘sympathise’ button, The Huffington Post reported.
It was learned this Thursday from Facebook’s annual Compassion Research Day when the social network devotes a whole day to sharing various ways it is trying to “build empathy and foster trust” with users.
Engineer Dan Muriello said one of his colleagues had designed the ‘sympathise’ button during a recent hackathon.
Here’s how it could work: if a Facebook user were to tag his or her status with a negative emotion (from the social networking site’s lists of feelings), the ‘sympathise’ button would automatically replace the ‘like’ button.
And as much as users might want one, it seems Facebook is never going to add a ‘dislike’ button.
The ‘sympathise’ feature is not making its way to the site “yet”, said a Facebook spokesperson.
Until then, its users will have to carry on with awkward silences.