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Facebook unveils new buttons that give ‘likes’ an emotive makeover

Posted by
Harriet Hall
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Just last month we heard news that Mark Zuckerberg was working on expanding the long-reigning ‘like’ button on our Facebook posts.

It has now been officially announced that the social network will be piloting a set of new ‘reaction’ buttons, which will allow users to express their varied emotions to their friends’ posts, as opposed to simply ‘liking’ them.

The traditional ‘like’ button has always seemed inappropriate when it comes to responding to  posts about bereavement, break-ups, or hard-hitting news stories, with Zuckerberg saying last month that:

“Not every moment is a good moment, and sometimes you just want a way to express empathy.”

As a result, the new ‘reaction’ buttons will allow users to express a range of emotions including love, sympathy, anger, sadness and laughter.

Users will even be able to respond with a ‘wow’ to their friends’ statuses.

In a Facebook video posted by Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, it was revealed that there will be six new buttons, which will appear as animated emoticons.

"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," says Cox.

In order to access the new reactions, users will need to hover their cursor over the ‘like’ button, or press it for an extended time, and select the relevant emoji. Then, just as with the ‘like’ button, Facebook will count how many of each emotion you receive.

But, despite previous speculation, users will not be able to ‘dislike’ posts, amid concerns that this would foster a negative digital environment and encourage cyberbullying.

"As you can see, it's not a 'dislike' button, though we hope it addresses the spirit of this request more broadly,"  says Cox.

Within hours, Cox’s post had been liked thousands of times, in recognition that users welcome the new, expressive Facebook reactions.

The new features will be piloted in Ireland and Spain and, if they prove popular, will be rolled-out to a smartphone near you, very soon.

Yay.