Lazily signaling approval on Facebook has always been easy, but the days of having to express a negative emotion–or show compassion–with words may be coming to an end.
During the company’s town hall Q&A on Tuesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that Facebook is working on a “dislike” button and will be testing it soon. The justification for the button, he says, is not to condemn friends’ opinions, but to allow people to empathize with the less upbeat moments of life. (Facebook has seemingly floated the idea for some time; at a Q&A in December, Zuckerberg claimed that the company was “thinking about it.”)
“Not every moment is a good moment,” he said, according to VentureBeat. “If you share something that’s sad like a refugee crisis that touches you or a family member passes away, it may not be comfortable to like that post… I do think it’s important to give people more options than liking it.”
But hitting “dislike” on something truly sad doesn’t seem all that sensitive either; expressing empathy with a cursory click just doesn’t cut it as a response to a death in the family. That said, it could serve as useful for posts on minor grievances, like fender benders or lousy service. Here’s hoping Facebook users act with as much compassion and discretion in using the new button as they already do.