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Facebook devises ‘sympathise’ feature

Facebook devises ‘sympathise’ feature

Social giant Facebook has invented a new ‘sympathise’ button that could be used in situations when it isn’t appropriate to ‘like’ something.

Users currently have the option to choose an emotion when posting a status update to their news feeds; if a negative mood is picked, the ‘like’ button would be replaced by the new sympathy indicator.

At a recent company event, one of Facebook’s engineers explained that the new feature had been developed internally and that there are no plans in place to launch it publicly yet.

Academics and members of the public were encouraged to attend the ‘compassion research day’ in order to help improve the Californian firm’s understanding of benefits and driving forces of compassion.

In a question session, one audience member chose to ask whether Facebook had ever thought of changing the ‘like’ button to provide users with a more suitable option when something serious happened – the death of a family member, for instance.

In response, engineer Dan Murielllo claimed that one of his colleagues had worked on what he called a “hackathon project” to introduce a ‘sympathise’ feature. He added:

“A lot of people were very excited. But we made a decision that it was not exactly the right time to launch that product. Yet.”

‘Hackathons’ are events that see Facebook’s engineers get together to brainstorm new ideas.

It certainly seems that social media users are being given more control over the way they come across in other users’ news feeds. No doubt internet marketing firms will be keeping their eyes on the developments.

Graeme Parton
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