Facebook pondering 'Sympathise' button to offer sad friends a little comfort

Facebook pondering 'Sympathise' button to offer sad friends a little comfort
'Dislike' may not be the agenda, but 'Sympathise' might be

Remember, before Facebook, when friends used to ring you up to wish you a happy birthday? Or to congratulate you on a new job rather than writing on the wall or clicking the 'Like' button?

Well now the traditional expressions of sympathy during sad times, an arm around the shoulder, an invite for a pint, a card in the post or a bunch of flowers are potentially under threat from the social network.

Facebook has revealed it is actively experimenting with a 'Sympathise' button, which was dreamt up at a recent hackathon event and was an immediate hit.

It would work, as thus: If you tag your status with a negative emotion, such as 'feeling sad' then a 'Sympathise' button would replace the 'Like' button.

"It would be, 'five people sympathise with this,' instead of 'five people 'like' this,'" said Dan Muriello, a Facebook engineer. "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."

When 'Like' doesn't cover it

In some cases, this would be a nice idea. After all, when someone expresses a loss, users may appreciate the sentiment's expressed in a status update, but clicking 'Like' doesn't quite seem appropriate.

Also when one of your mates complains about their boss, or the late running trains, or their relegation-threatened football team, Like also doesn't seem to cover it.

However, Facebook already does so much to take the effort out of maintaining a real, friendship and the sincerity of real-life well wishes, do we really need that threatened further by a sympathy button?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Via Huffington Post

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and TechRadar.com. He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.