Facebook is working on an alternative to the 'Like' button, designed to allow users to express empathy on serious posts.
The social network's creator Mark Zuckerberg told an audience at a Q&A in Menlo Park, California, that he had been asked hundreds of times about why there was no alternative to the 'Like' button.
The question was raised by a user in Cairo, who suggested "I'm sorry", "Interesting" or "Dislike" buttons, but Zuckerberg said he always wanted to make sure that the 11-year-old website did not become a forum for people to simply vote up or down on someone's post.
"People aren't looking for an ability to down-vote other people's posts. What they really want is to be able to express empathy," he said.
He said he understood people wanting to share their feelings when a relative dies, or express thoughts on the current refugee crisis, acknowledging that not all moments are happy ones.
He said: "Your friends and people want to be able to express that they understand and that they relate to you, so I do think that it is important to give people more options than just 'Like' as a quick way to emote and share what they're feeling on a post."
Depending on how the test version goes, the alternative could be rolled out to users more broadly, he added.