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What happens when a Facebook post is important for people to see – but not Likeable?

For example, something sad like the death of a family member or the recent refugee crisis.

Of course, no one wants to send the message of “Liking” a tragedy. It’s completely inappropriate and downright uncomfortable. But people do want to be able to express empathy.

Facebook users have requested an alternative to the Like button for a long time. Finally, Zuckerberg is on the path to granting their wish.

The Facebook founder is officially able to say the team is not only working on a new button – but close to shipping a test.

Zuckerberg Dislikes the Facebook Dislike Button

Facebook users want a “Dislike” button – but it doesn’t quite fit the bill for the type of community the social network wants to create.

First, a Facebook Dislike button would create a forum for users to vote status updates up or down. There’s already an army of social networks boasting this type of voting functionality. Ever heard of Reddit?

Besides, do users really want a Dislike button to downvote other posts? Not exactly. Instead, users want to be able to express empathy and sympathy.

Not every moment is a good moment – so not every Facebook post is likeable. But people still want to show they care.

Another problem with a Facebook Dislike button – it would create confusion. Think about it.

A Facebook friend posts an update about victims of a natural disaster. So, you hit the Dislike button. But what exactly do you dislike?

Do you dislike the tragedy? Maybe you dislike the victims. Or perhaps you dislike the fact that someone posts an update about a natural disaster. It’s easy to see why a Facebook Dislike button could cause more harm than good.

A Dislike button is simply too ambiguous for the way Facebook operates as a social network. Far more likely is something along the lines of a “Sorry” button.

The “Sorry” Button Concept

Facebook’s Recommend button is a close descendant of the Sorry button concept. It’s a simple way for people to share – instead of “like” – tragic stories on the web. The Sorry button is similar to the Recommend button but adds another element – the ability to express condolences.

Why (and How) it Could Work

A Sorry button could work because it’s widely understandable and entirely unambiguous. The message a user sends by clicking the Sorry button is clear. Facebook is so optimistic about a Sorry button, it’s already working on ways to put this new functionality into place.

Facebook may use buzzwords to detect the sadness of a status update. Words like “died”, “fired”, or “broke up” might flag a post as sad or tragic. Users may then gain the option to replace the Like button with an empathy button – or add one next to it.

Solving the Algorithm Problem

Facebook’s Sorry button concept could potentially solve a huge problem with its News Feed algorithm.

When you share something sad, people may be apprehensive about Liking it. Mostly, we are concerned about giving the wrong impression. Facebook may then consider these posts to be uninteresting – which is rarely the case.

The ability to express empathy or sympathy changes the game completely. Posts that are not Likeable – but still important for people to see – may finally reach the masses.

The Facebook community may never be the same.

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