“People have asked about the dislike button for many years,” Zuckerberg said. “We’ve finally heard you and we’re working on this and we will deliver something that meets the needs of the larger community.”

He said the company would take pains to avoid becoming like the popular online community Reddit, where posts are voted up or down depending on the whims of users.

“That doesn’t seem like the kind of community that we want to create: You don’t want to go through the process of sharing some moment that was important to you in your day and have someone ‘downvote’ it,” he said. “What they really want is the ability to express empathy. Not every moment is a good moment.”

The company also plans to test other buttons expressing sympathy or empathy. Facebook introduced its ubiquitous like button in 2009 as a way for users to quickly respond to posts, but hitting a thumbs-up icon hasn’t been always been appropriate for sad moments or news stories about tragedy.

In December, Zuckerberg said the company was thinking about adding a dislike button but noted it would likely be called something else to avoid shaming or expressing hatred toward posters.

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