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article imageFacebook ready for global rollout of new 'Like' button

By James Walker     Jan 27, 2016 in Technology
According to reports, Facebook is on the verge of launching its new Reactions feature across the world. A revised form of the 'Like' button, Reactions lets users express emotions including "Love", "Wow", "Angry" , "Sad" and "Haha".
The feature was announced in October 2015 as an alternative way of implementing the much-requested "dislike" button. Facebook opted to avoid dislike and instead unveiled a new set of Reactions, circular icons that resemble emoji.
Accessible by hovering over the Like menu online or touching the Like button in a mobile app, Reactions have been designed as an "elegant and fun" way to express emotions online. According to Facebook's Chris Cox, it "addresses the spirit" of the dislike button requests while keeping things upbeat on the social network.
The original line-up of emoji included six different emotions but only five will now launch worldwide. Facebook found the "Yay" button "was not universally understood" and was perceived to mean different things by different users. The case highlights a key issue facing Reactions — emotion is a very human thing and each one creates a different feeling in every person.
Reactions has been in testing in Spain, Ireland, Chile, the Philippines, Portugal and Colombia for a few months under a limited testing period. The company originally chose launch countries to favour nations with few international links, making it simpler to implement the system.
Facebook is now ready to roll out the upgraded Like button across the world, as reported by Bloomberg today. Reactions should be available in global markets "in the next few weeks," giving more people a new way to express themselves online.
The buttons are supposed to make people more comfortable with responding to controversial or upsetting posts online. Rather than having to consider a message to post, a user can simply tap an emotion and instantly convey an opinion on a subject.
Facebook also wanted to avoid issues surrounding user perception of a dislike button. When news topics that generate strong feelings appear on the network, such as the plight of refugees fleeing Syria, people are likely to lean towards "Dislike" rather than "Like." Dislike is still the wrong emotion though and could be misconstrued. The new "Angry" or "Sad" buttons are more descriptive alternatives that people should feel are a better representation of their opinion.
The buttons have already proved the argument to be correct. Cox told Bloomberg that Reactions' biggest day so far was during the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015. People in the test countries made extensive use of the different emotions, showing a range of opinions that 'dislike' alone couldn't convey. Cox said "It just felt different to use Facebook that day."
For the rest of the world, Reactions should be coming soon, although there is still no defined date. According to Cox, Facebook rolls things out "very carefully" to ensure users will accept them.
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