Facebook working on alternative to ‘like’ button

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg says the social media site will introduce an alternative to the ‘like’ button, to enable users to express empathy.

MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 15, 2015) (FACEBOOK) – Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg told a town hall meeting at the company’s headquarters on Tuesday (September 16) that the social media site was working on an alternative to the ‘like’ button, to enable users to express empathy.

Zuckerberg, responding to a question from a Facebook user in Cairo, said the new button wouldn’t simply be a ‘dislike’ button, but something more nuanced.

“We didn’t want to just build a dislike button because we don’t want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts, right? I mean that doesn’t seem like the kind of community that we want to create,” he said.

Instead, he said the new alternative to the iconic ‘thumbs up’ button that appears next to posts would allow users to express a broader range of emotions about content on the site, especially when the content being shared was ‘bad’ news.

“Not every moment is a good moment, right? And if you’re sharing something that is sad, whether it’s something in current events, like the refugee crisis, that touches you or if a family member passed away then it may not feel comfortable to like that post, but your friends and people want to be able to express that they understand and that they relate to you. So I do think that it is important to give people more options than just ‘like’ as a quick way to emote and share their feeling on a post,’ he said.

Zuckerberg said the new option would be tested soon.

“It’s surprisingly complicated to make an interaction that you want to be that simple, but we have an idea that we think we’re going to be able to test soon and then, depending on how that does, we’ll roll it out more broadly,” he said.

Facebook is the world’s largest social network with 1.5 billion users.