We’ve all been there. A friend announces on Facebook that their cat has just passed away, and while you want to express your condolences, the rigmarole of typing out an unsmiley face just seems like a lot of effort in the circumstances. After all, it was pretty elderly and you’re more of a dog person anyway. So you decide you’ll return to your grieving friend later and promptly forget all about it.
Well thankfully those days could be behind us. News has emerged that Facebook may be introducing a “sympathy” button for when a “like” isn’t appropriate and all alternatives seem like way too much effort. Personally I doubt I could ever use it without feeling like I was being sarcastic, but at a recent Facebook hackathon the button went down a storm. The Facebook engineer Dan Muriello explained “It would be, ‘five people sympathise with this,’ instead of ‘five people ‘like’ this. 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.”