Effective today, Facebook is not only limited to likes, shares, and comments. Instead, users can now be more empathetic to friends’ posts and News Feed updates through six different emojis, formally called Reactions.
The announcement came barely a month after CEO Mark Zuckerberg hinted that the company is in the works of introducing an alternative to the Like button. However, he dismissed the idea it’s going to be called ‘dislike’ or any other adjectives evoking negative feelings.
Alongside the thumbs-up button, users can also choose between love, laughter, happiness, shock, sadness and anger to express more accurately their thoughts and feelings about a particular post. Reactions will be rolled out initially as a test in two countries only – Spain and Ireland – before the feature goes into another round of tweaks and improvements.
When asked why the Cupertino company chose Spain and Ireland for the preliminary tests, Facebook product director Adam Mosseri said both countries have the most diverse groups of friend networks. Spain is also an ideal mockup to assess how non-English speakers interpret the emojis.
Facebook hopes the Reactions would harbor positive reviews among its subscribers since this is not the first time that users began responding online with emojis. Other social networks like Path and Buzzfeed allow people to respond differently through icons. Reactions will appear on all Facebook pages, be it on the person’s profile, News Feed, group pages and more.
Currently, Facebook has not yet announced whether Reactions will be available on Messenger and other apps owned by Zuckerberg.
The addition of Reactions on Facebook’s response buttons is a way to address current social networking trends, where people prefer to use symbols or icons rather than typing on keyboards. Mobile has become the fastest and most convenient platform of user engagement either for personal or business purposes.
“Typing on mobile is difficult, and this is way easier than finding a sticker or emoji to respond to in the feed,” said Mosseri. Advertisers can also use Reactions for data analytics. By crowdsourcing people’s emotional responses to products or services, they are able to curate more relevant content based on public pulse.
However, publishers don’t have the capability to turn off responses once emojis are formally implemented on pages, although Mosseri said Facebook is considering having it as an additional feature. Since Reactions is still on its experimental stage, users can expect a soft rollout similar to what Facebook did with previous features.