Founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has announced Facebook will soon launch a button which will allow users to express empathy.

Addressing a Q&A session held at the US company's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, the 31-year-old acknowledged that "like" is not always appropriate for some posts - about a tragic news event, for example - when people might want to express empathy.

Speaking at the event, that was streamed live online, Zuckerberg said that people has been asking for a "dislike" button on the social media site for years.

However, he said the company had veered away from making a "dislike" button, which could be used to vote down other people's posts.

"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."

He said the new button is ready to be tested soon and could be rolled out broadly depending on how it does.

The company's now-iconic "like" button was introduced in 2009.

Source: AP