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(Pocket-lint) - Facebook is working on a new button along the lines of a Dislike button, but it is has a more sensitive name: Sympathise button.

The Like button, which debuted on Facebook in 2009, allows users to like content such as status updates, comments, photos, links shared by friends, and advertisements. While the Like button is useful for giving positive feedback, it is not so useful in less jovial situations such as the death of a loved one. That's why Facebook engineers have now dreamt up a Sympathise button.

The engineers brainstormed about the button at a Facebook hackathon event, where many popular Facebook features like the Timeline have emerged, according to The Telegraph. A Sympathise button would be very different from a Dislike button though, and it will not work for every post.


Facebook has long balked at adding a Dislike button. Product engineer Bob Baldwin, who has worked on many of Facebook's most popular features, explained to users in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" discussion last April why Facebook doesn't like the idea. He said Facebook tends to focus on positive social interactions and ways to express positive sentiment.

"I don't think adding a lightweight way to express negative sentiment would be that valuable," wrote Baldwin. "I know there are times when it'd make sense, like when a friend is having a rough day, or got into a car accident like my sister yesterday (she's okay!). For these times, a nice comment from a friend goes a long way."

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Dan Muriello, a software engineer at Facebook, told The Telegraph that the Sympathise button would work when users tag their statuses with specific emotions. They'd then be able see their friends sympathising with their status (instead of liking it). An example notification would alert users of the following: "five people sympathise with this", etc.

Although Facebook is developing the Sympathise button, Muriello said it was not yet the right time to launch the feature. He didn't give a release date for when the Sympathise button might roll out.

Writing by Elyse Betters.