Facebook Working on a "Sympathize" Button
The Telegraph reports that Facebook is currently evaluating a "Sympathetic" button as an alternative to the current "Like" button. If approved, users could instead hit the more appropriate "Sympathetic" button when a friend or family member updates Facebook with a negative post.
The "Sympathize" button is the byproduct of a recent Facebook "hackathon" event, where Facebook engineers gather together and brainstorm new ideas for the popular social network. Past events such as this have produced several popular features including the "Like" button, Facebook Chat and the timeline.
"Some of our best ideas come from hackathons, and the many ideas that don't get pursued often help us think differently about how we can improve our service," a Facebook rep told The Telegraph, adding that hackathons are "the foundation for great innovation and thinking about how we can better serve people around the world."
Dan Muriello, a software engineer at Facebook, told The Telegraph that the feature will not work for every post. To activate the button, Facebook users must update their status with a specific emotion like "sad" or "depressed." The end result would be that friends and family will now sympathize with the Facebook user rather than liking the comment.
"It would be, 'five people sympathize with this,' instead of 'five people 'like' this,'" said Muriello. "Which of course a lot of people were -- and still are -- very excited about. But we made a decision that it was not exactly the right time to launch that product. Yet."
So far, there's no set date for when the new button will arrive -- there's a possibility that it may never hit Facebook. These hackathons allow the site's engineers to explore out-of-the-box ideas, many of which never make it to the site.