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The Empathy Exams

Is it time to petition Facebook for an “Empathize” button?

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How often do we see friends posting Facebook status updates about bad days at work, sleepless nights, or frustrating interactions with strangers? Or something much worse? How many of us have hit the “Like” button in response, looking for a way to acknowledge suffering, knowing that “Like” is absolutely not the emotion we’d want to convey? Facebook users have long cried out for a “Dislike” button, but the company refuses to provide it. According to Facebook product engineer Bob Baldwin, “Actions on Facebook tend to focus on positive social interactions.” Fair enough. Maybe it’s time, then, to petition the company for an “Empathize” button. This is what we mean, isn’t it, when we hit that button? “I feel your pain,” we…

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