Facebook is making good on a promise to more accurately represent its users’ feelings, launching a test program to evolve the newsfeed “Like” button.
Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox announced that a pilot program in Ireland and Spain has given users a range of emojis with which to react to posts, sentiments that include love, laughter, enthusiasm, anger and sadness.
“We hope it addresses the spirit of this request more broadly,” Cox wrote in a post about users’ desire for options beyond ‘Like’ in responding to content — especially in situations involving loss, he said.
“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,” he said.
TheWrap previously reported the pros and cons of expanded emotional range for social media users when it comes to Hollywood; controversial movies, critically panned TV shows and talent with likability problems will be vulnerable to a lot of new feedback.
“If you’re seeing 250 likes for something, and 50,000 dislikes, you’re thinking, ‘People just like me hate this.’ It’s going to give you pause,” one top digital consultant told TheWrap.
Content makers were unfazed at the time, saying most of what hits Facebook is transparent by nature.
“There are already comment streams, where people can respond, and that can be moderated,” said one studio executive speaking on the condition of anonymity. “My initial gut would say it’s something we’ll watch — but because this mechanism already exists, we’re not running from it.”
Today we’re launching a test of Reactions — a more expressive Like button. The Like button has been a part of Facebook for a long time. Billions of Likes are made every day, and Liking things is a simple way to express yourself.For many years though, people have asked us to add a “dislike” button. Not every moment is a good moment, and sometimes you just want a way to express empathy. These are important moments where you need the power to share more than ever, and a Like might not be the best way to express yourself.At a recent Townhall Q&A, I shared with our community that we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the best way to give you better options for expressing yourself, while keeping the experience simple and respectful. Today we’re starting to test this.Reactions gives you new ways to express love, awe, humor and sadness. It’s not a dislike button, but it does give you the power to easily express sorrow and empathy — in addition to delight and warmth. You’ll be able to express these reactions by long pressing or hovering over the Like button. We’re starting to test Reactions in Ireland and Spain and will learn from this before we bring the experience to everyone. We hope you like this – or can better express how you’re feeling!
Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, October 8, 2015