Why do people use "LOL" even when they're not laughing...?

Anonymous
Isn't LOL getting a little ridiculous now? Some people put that everywhere when they type even when things aren't funny:

I just failed my test.

Oh, you'll pass the next one, lol.

My dog just died.

He's probably in heaven, lol.

Seriously, is LOL really what it means anymore? Or has it become just a filler word, sometimes to decrease tension?
Why do people use "LOL" even when they're not laughing...?
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