For as long as Facebook has been using its famous ‘Like’ button, people have wondered when they would be able to click on something a little less jovial when the need arises. We’ve all been forced to ‘Like’ a friend’s status update on Facebook when the situation really demands something quite the opposite. With people posting about things ranging from bad days at the office and pets being ill to marriage breakups and loved ones dying, hitting that ‘Like’ button as a form of acknowledgement feels crass at best, and downright cruel at its worst. And it seems someone at Facebook would agree.
Facebook engineer Dan Muriello has spoken of a Hackathon that took place at the company an unspecified amount of time ago at which one of his colleagues worked on the problem of when a ‘Like’ is and is not appropriate for the situation at hand. The outcome was a ‘Sympathize’ button which would be much more welcome to those in need of a hug rather than the slap in the face a ‘Like’ can feel like when you’re bearing your soul in a Facebook status update.
It would appear that the Facebook crowd were positive about the idea of having a button that changed from ‘Like’ to ‘Sympathize’ depending on the content of the status update and whether the writer had selected a negative emotion such as ‘sad’ or ‘depressed’ when composing it. The idea of a morphing button would make the interface less cluttered while also removing the chance of clicking the wrong one, too.
Unfortunately, during a presentation at Facebook’s Compassion Research Day, Muriello said that while the reaction to the button inside Facebook was a good one, the company won’t be rolling it out any time soon. While saying that it wouldn’t be on Facebook’s roadmap "yet," the engineer says Facebook "made a decision that it was not exactly the right time to launch that product."
Users of Facebook – and there are quite a few of them, we’re told – will no doubt be pleased to hear that Facebook is at least aware of how inappropriate the ‘Like’ button can be, even if it seems unable to fix it just yet.
We just wish this one turns into reality!