Facebook caused a major stir in September when CEO Mark Zuckerberg hinted the company was thinking about expanding its Like button, leading people to think there was a dislike option coming soon. As it turns out, the site has decided to introduce 6 Reactions emojis instead.
Chris Cox, Chief Product Officer at Facebook, calls Reactions a more expressive Like button. That’s the new feature in a nutshell, with options for love, surprise, laughter, anger, sadness and excitement. The animated emojis are currently being tested out in Ireland and Spain. Once the feedback from those two countries has been collected, it’ll be expanded to other regions.
The new options will sit right beside the old thumbs-up icon. To access them, people will have to either hover over the Like symbol on desktops or long-press it when using their mobile. Cox explained the reasoning behind the introduction of these emojis in a Facebook post, stating that the some of the expressions were a way to capture the spirit of a dislike.
Facebook thinks these faces will act as empathy tools, useful in situations such as expressing concern when someone’s had an accident, or congratulating a friend who’s celebrating their graduation and so on. These life events apparently need more than a Like to put across the feelings of the people commenting.
The social networking site studied the most frequently occurring comments people were posting, then proceeded to design the emojis as a way to easily communicate those thoughts. It’s possible that an actual dislike button was not launched in order to discourage cyber bullying or negativity on Facebook.
Reactions will show up in news feed from which people can use them for posts by friends, businesses and advertisers. Facebook will analyze the data and utilize it to deliver similar content to users. The emojis will have the same impact on ad delivery as the Like button.