Facebook is considering ways to let users express a broader range of emotions than is possible with the “like” button alone.
In the second public Q&A at its Menlo Park near San Francisco, Mark Zuckerberg said that many users of the social network did not feel comfortable in “liking” unfortunate life events such as deaths, while others wanted to be able to express surprise or laughter.
However, Facebook nevertheless had no plans to introduce a “dislike” button.
“There’s something that’s just so simple about the ‘like’ button’ ... but giving people more ways of expressing more emotions would be powerful,” Zuckerberg told the audience of users and employees.
Referring to the aim of allowing users to express a wider range of emotions, he added: “We need to figure out the right way to do it so it ends up being a force for good, not a force for bad and demeaning the posts that people are putting out there.”
It was always possible to comment on a post, he said, yet many people felt they needed to come up with something witty or clever in order to do so.
No imminent announcement was planned, Zuckerberg added.
Some 4.5bn likes are generated daily, according to the social network. The like button was introduced in 2009 along with the share button and was redesigned in November 2013. It and the share button are significant drivers of traffic to Facebook from other websites.
Social Network was ‘hurtful’
Facebook said in 2009 that using the like button in conjunction with leaving a comment was akin to reviewing a restaurant on a website: “We think of the new “like” feature to be the [five] stars, and the comments to be the review.”
Zuckerberg said the Q&A idea arose from the weekly internal sessions he conducted with staff every Friday that he said gave him and the management team “valuable information” to help run the company better.
At the first Q&A in early November the chief executive said that the film The Social Network was hurtful because it had “made up a bunch of stuff”.
Zuckerberg also revealed that he had many versions of the ubiquitous grey T shirt because he did not want to waste time making “silly or frivolous” decisions such as what to wear, or what to have for breakfast.
“I really want to clear my life so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything, except how to best serve this community [of Facebook users],” he said.
This article was written by Chris Johnston, for theguardian.com on Friday 12th December 2014 17.38 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010