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article imageFacebook announces six new emotions to sit alongside 'Like'

By James Walker     Oct 8, 2015 in Internet
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently confirmed the company is working on adding a "dislike" button to the social network, although he never put it as such. Today, the new options were unveiled and they're rather different than what people expected.
The 'Like' button is going to be joined by six new friends. Together, they are called 'Reactions' and are designed to make it possible for users to express a much wider range of emotions on Facebook than ever before.
The company told TechCrunch that the circular icons are based around traditional emoji and cover expressions including happiness, love, sadness, anger and surprise. When the feature launches, users will have access to "Love," "Haha," "Yay," "Wow," "Sad" and "Angry" alongside the traditional "Like."
The new emotions will be accessed in the Facebook app by touching the Like button. A bar will display, showing the different options. Online, a pop-up menu will appear when a mouse is hovered over the Like button.
The buttons will not be limited to just friends' posts and will appear alongside all content in the News Feed, including on advertisements. Currently, there are no plans to add support for the new emoji to Facebook Messenger or Facebook-owned Instagram.
Inevitably, "Reactions" may not please people who had assumed Zuckerberg was talking of a pure "Dislike" button, an option still conspicuously absent from the line-up. However, he never actually made direct reference to what the wording would be, instead saying he wanted users to be able to express a wider range of emotions. With seven different ways of offering instant approval on a post, the company can certainly claim to have achieved that, even if "dislike" remains an emotion that Facebook still turns its back on.
Facebook's Chris Cox wrote in a post: "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."
The new options will give brands a clearer view into public perception on their posts, allowing them to gauge how their social media content makes followers feel and making it possible to refine future campaigns based on user responses. The buttons will act as a kind of continual feedback system, getting input from Page visitors without them ever realising it. This may make the platform more attractive to advertisers as user feedback can now be collected indirectly and constantly while still engaging visitors in the content.
Facebook's product director, Adam Mosseri, explained the decision to give the "Like" button some friends. He told TechCrunch that the addition was made to make life easier for mobile users where the majority of Facebook's traffic now comes from. On a touchscreen, tapping an emoji is a much quicker and simpler way to express an opinion than having to fumble with the keyboard to type a response. Mosseri said: "Typing on mobile is difficult and this is way easier than finding a sticker or emoji to respond to in the feed."
It will be a while until most people get to try the feature themselves. Facebook is preparing to commence a limited test roll-out in Spain and Ireland, countries apparently chosen because they both have mainly national user bases with few international links.
In other words, the Spanish and Irish don't seem to make international friends which makes implementing the system less complicated for Facebook. The company hasn't revealed when people in other countries can expect to see Reactions appearing under their own posts.
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