Could we end up with Facebook buttons for a whole range of emotions?

Facebook’s ‘like’ button pulls a lot of weight. It’s the primary way to react to a post without actually putting your thoughts into words, and thus, the Atlantic observes, ‘likes’ wind up on posts about illness, injury and negative emotions as more of an indicator of ‘I saw this’ than ‘I am fond of this.’

There is a significant push for its binary opposite, a ‘dislike button,’ but it is understandable for Facebook to be hesitant to quantify negativity, its business being built as it is around advertising. (Interestingly, however, the company has an employee ‘karma’ rating internally). Following a business is even referred to as ‘liking,’ even though, if asked, many followers of businesses on Facebook would indicate more complex emotions. Complexity is what Facebook may get if it adds a ‘sympathize button,’ which Facebook engineer Dan Muriello discussed at the company’s annual Compassion Research Day, which is devoted to site features that minimize conflict. The button already exists – an engineer had put the code, which was accompanied with a dropdown list of feelings, together at a previous compassion-themed hackathon.

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