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Facebook considers dropping 'like' for 'sympathise'

Facebook toyed with the idea of adding a "sympathise" button to the social network, for when "like" doesn't quite apply.

As reported by the Huffington Post, a developer came up with the "sympathise" option at a recent hackathon event. It would only appear if your friend labelled their Facebook post with a negative emotion, the blog said.

Facebook has no plans to add the sympathise option to the site yet; like any tech firm, it experiments with features all the time. But the topic came up during a presentation from Facebook engineer Dan Muriello at Facebook's Compassion Research Day.

The event, which took place last week, shares "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." It was organised in conjunction with Stanford's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education Compassion and Technology Conference.

For years, Facebook users have requested a "dislike" button for posts on the social network, but the company has thus far declined to go negative.

During a 2010 interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said the "dislike" button is "something that we would definitely think about," but he did not commit to adding it to the site. Later, a "dislike" app scam made the rounds on Facebook; rather than adding the functionality, it stole your information.

For now, the only option is "like," which is definitely not appropriate for all situations. Of course, one might argue that it's not exactly a huge task to type a sympathetic comment like, "I'm sorry," or "I'm here for you."

But this is the age of Facebook, so sometimes you only have time for a click.