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December 9, 2013

Facebook Mulling Over Addition of ‘Sympathize’ Button

Image courtesy of (Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee)/

Have you ever read a sad status update from a friend — perhaps about a break up, the loss of a job or even a death in the family — and wondered how to respond.

Facebook may in the future offer a solution to such a dilemma in the form of a ‘Sympathize’ button.

That’s right, you would no longer have to worry about seeming gauche by ‘liking’ a status update simply because there is no other option available.

Facebook engineer Dan Muriello discussed the ‘Sympathize’ button at the social network’s recent Compassion Research Day, an annual event held at Facebook’s Menlo Park Campus.  The event is a chance to share “everything we’ve learned in the last year about what happens when you apply the science of how people relate to each other to social technology,” Facebook said in a post on the event’s Facebook page.

Muriello said a fellow engineer came up with the ‘sympathize’ button while taking part in one of the firm’s hackathons.

“Hackathons are a big tradition at Facebook. They serve as the foundation for great innovation and thinking about how we can better serve people around the world,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNBC. “Some of our best ideas come from hackathons, and the many ideas that don’t get pursued often help us think differently about how we can improve our service.”

While Facebook does not currently plan to implement the button, it is not being ruled out as a possibility for the future.

To view the portion of the video in which the ‘sympathize’ button is discussed, scroll ahead to the one-hour-and-25-minute mark of the event.