Facebook will augment the basic ‘Like’ with anger, sadness, laughter, but no dislike

Update on January 27, 2016: Bloomberg reports that Reactions will be available globally “in the next few weeks.” The comment comes from an interview Bloomberg conducted with Facebook’s chief product officer, Chris Cox.

Original article: Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg revealed plans to add a “dislike” button to the social network a few months ago, and earlier today the new reactions were finally revealed. Instead of a simple ‘thumbs down’ button, which Facebook claims would be ineffective and possibly abusive, the social network has added a range of reactions, including love, haha, wow, sad, and angry.

The angry face is as close as we’re going to get to a dislike. Facebook wanted to add the reactions for times when a ‘thumbs up’ isn’t appropriate. The emotes use a similar style to one of Facebook’s packs found on Messenger, and the ‘love’ reaction from Instagram makes an appearance. Here’s the firm’s related statement:

“Today we’re launching a pilot test of Reactions — a more expressive Like button. As you can see, it’s not a “dislike” button, though we hope it addresses the spirit of this request more broadly. We studied which comments and reactions are most commonly and universally expressed across Facebook, then worked to design an experience around them that was elegant and fun. Starting today Ireland and Spain can start loving, wow-ing, or expressing sympathy to posts on Facebook by hovering or long-pressing the Like button wherever they see it. We’ll use the feedback from this to improve the feature and hope to roll it out to everyone soon.”

Reactions will work on mobile by tapping on the like button, and on desktop by hovering over the like button. The reactions will be viewable at the bottom of the status update, with small numbers to indicate how many people used this reaction. Facebook has removed the names of people that liked the status, but hovering on desktop or tapping on mobile will show all of the names.

The new reactions could be open to abuse, but not on the scale of an actual dislike button. Facebook plans to continue tweaking the reactions, and some time in the future we might see them open up the reactions to third-party artists, similar to Messenger emoticons.

A small rollout in Ireland and Spain will happen before making reactions available to everybody. Like most new features from Facebook, we expect it will take some time to come to the 1.4 billion active monthly users.

Most social networks deal in one or two reactions: on Twitter, retweet and favorite are the two options, on Instagram users can only heart, and YouTube is the only social network to offer a like and dislike button. Facebook’s new reactions might be an interesting experiment to see what reactions users favor, and how behavior changes on the social network when multiple reactions, including unfavorable ones, are available.

(This article was originally published on October 8, 2015.)

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