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Facebook announces "dislike" style button is coming soon

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We’ve got a lot of time for Facebook (admittedly sometimes too much) but most of us get irate when we are met by a constant stream of baby photos, or force-fed statuses about people’s political ideologies.

So, the news that Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has a dislike button in the pipeline will come as music to many people’s ears.

In a Q&A session at Facebook’s California HQ, the 31-year-old Facebook founder and CEO said the facility was “very close” to be ready for initial testing.

"People have asked about the 'dislike' button for many years," says Zuckerberg.

"Probably hundreds of people have asked about this, and today is a special day because today is the day that I actually get to say we are working on it, and are very close to shipping a test of it."

However, despite many people’s glee at the thought of a button which can passive aggressively express their distaste for humblebrags and couple selfies, Zuckerberg was keen to press that the button is not being created to “downvote” people’s posts.

Instead, the “dislike” function will be used as a means of expressing empathy.

Many people have complained that the current “like” button feels inappropriate when it comes to reacting to sad posts about break-ups or even bereavement.

“Not every moment is a good moment” says Zuckerberg.

zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg

“If you are 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.”

“I think it’s important to give people more than just "like" as a way to emote and share their feeling on a post,” he says.

Zuckerberg has previously dismissed the idea of a “dislike” button altogether, amid fears it could foster negativity and encourage online bullying.

A "dislike" button could also be hugely unpopular among advertisers.

Based on these concerns, he has said that the function has been surprisingly difficult to develop and, chances are, the final feature will be something more like an empathy button.

Emily Vacher, safety manager at Facebook told Sky News that the button will not be a way of facilitating trolls, saying:

“We certainly don’t want trolling on Facebook. We want it to be a place where people feel welcome and feel the warmth and sharing the information in their community.”

“It may end up that it’s not technically a dislike, it may be empathy," she says.

Either way, it’s an exciting development for the way we interact with one another online.

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