It’s not a “dislike” button but Facebook is going beyond the “like” button to express a broader range of human emotions.
How you “like” things on Facebook is about to change. Grapzer has learned that the site is about to launch a “Reactions” feature that expresses multiple emotions, instead of the long-serving, lonely “like” (and long rumoured “dislike“). Our sources advise that Facebook will start testing the feature on users in Ireland and Spain as soon as tomorrow (Friday).
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made some waves when he hinted Facebook was working on a way to expand its famous Like button — not by adding the much-fabled “dislike” option, but by making it way more empathetic, expressing sadness and other emotions. Yesterday, Facebook is taking the wraps off what form the new Like may take. It is rolling out “Reactions,” a new set of six emoji that will sit alongside the original thumbs-up to let users quickly respond with love, laughter, happiness, shock, sadness and anger.
No longer will the ubiquitous “like” button have to do all the heavy emotional lifting. The new buttons called “Reactions” include “love,” “haha,” “wow” and “yay.” Also at your fingertips will be angry and sad faces. The emoji-like symbols are designed to be universally recognized across cultures.
“As you can see, it’s not a ‘dislike’ button, though we hope it addresses the spirit of this request more broadly,” said Chris Cox, Facebook’s product chief.
(The reason for those two countries? Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s director of product, says it’s because both have largely national user bases without extensive international friend networks, so they work better as closed test groups. Ireland is English speaking, while Spain lets Facebook test out how well the wordless emoji play with non-English users.)
Having more reactive set of emoji might sound familiar to you. In the wake of reports that Facebook was working on a “dislike” button in September, our own Josh Constine predicted that Facebook might instead offer a small selection of emoji, similar to the reaction buttons Path offered back in 2012. It turned out that Facebook had even filed a patent for how such an emoji response feature might work and look. (Those pointers appeared to be spot-on.)
The new “Reactions” buttons are a boon for a company such as Facebook that collects massive amounts of data. The buttons will be weighed in the computer algorithm that determines what people see in their individual News Feed, Mosseri said.
” ‘Reactions’ creates a more controlled vocabulary that Facebook can use to understand what people’s responses are to items in their News Feed,” Dr. Andrea Forte, a Drexel University professor who studies social media, said in an email. “People respond in all kinds of ways right now — using stickers for example — but it’s hard to interpret what it means when someone responds to a post with a dinosaur driving a convertible.”
Facebook also is experimenting with subtle animation, Mosseri said.
“We want people to express themselves. It’s part of our mission,” he said.
Asked which button he would use to express his feeling about this product launch, Mosseri said, “I am pretty excited about this. That was a ‘yay.’ ”