Facebook to Add Buttons For Emotions Beyond ‘Like’

Facebook will finally let its billion-plus users worldwide express displeasure or sadness about posts on the social service.

The company is developing a way for people to indicate feelings of sadness or sympathy about Facebook content and comments, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed during a Q&A session Tuesday. That will complement the Facebook’s trademark “like” feature, which it launched in early 2009.

After years of users asking for a “dislike” button, “today is the day where I actually get to say that we’re working on it and are very close to shipping a test of it,” he said at the publicly live-streamed town hall event.

Zuckerberg added that what Facebook users “really want is to be able to express empathy,” and that the new feature would not simply be a way to “down-vote” a post. He didn’t provide details on when the feature would go live but said Facebook will begin testing alternatives to the “like” button soon. “Hopefully we will deliver something that meets the needs of our community,” Zuckerberg said.

Facebook has resisted adding a “dislike” button on the theory it would discourage people from sharing posts — or even that it would engender misunderstandings or animosity among friends.

“I do think that it’s important to give people more options than just ‘like’ as a quick way to emote and share what they’re feeling on a post, so we’ve been working on this for a while,” Zuckerberg said. “It’s surprisingly complicated to make an interaction that you want to be that simple.”

Meanwhile, emoji icons in the Unicode text standard include a range of gestures, including a thumbs-up, thumbs-down, an “OK” sign and a pair of hands clapping. Facebook does currently include a thumbs-down icon in a sticker package for the Messenger app.

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