Most Facebook users will, at some point, have faced the situation shown in the Family Guy clip above: a friend posts something on the site which you want to acknowledge, but the tone of their status makes a ‘Like’ sound completely inappropriate. Let’s face it - expressing sympathy for bad news with a ‘Like’ can make you sound a little insensitive.
It seems that Facebook has been playing around with a possible solution to this as The Huffington Post reports, although the company isn't planning to introduce it just yet.
Facebook engineer Dan Muriello revealed that one of its hackathons "a little while back" yielded a creative approach to solving this social networking faux pas. In the experiment, whenever a user chose to attach a negative emotion to a post from Facebook’s selection – which includes things like “feeling sad” – the ‘Like’ button that would ordinarily be displayed with that status update would instead transform into a ‘Sympathize’ button.
According to Muriello, the idea received positive feedback from those within the company who tried it out. “It would be ‘five people sympathize with this’ instead of ‘five people like this,’” he explained, “which 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.”
As HuffPo notes, the ‘Like’ button itself was the product of Facebook hackathon experimentation, so you never know - we may yet see the ‘Sympathize’ button become part of the Facebook experience in time.
Source: The Huffington Post