“Liking” on Facebook is about to get a lot more complex. The social media site will soon release a new set of reaction buttons that will let users express how they feel more precisely. It’s not a “dislike” button, it might be even better.
According to the New York Times, the new features will look something like this:
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 8, 2015
The new emojis are designed to express love, awe, humor, anger, and sadness in addition to the classic “like.” They should be helpful for when someone posts about a tragic event like “my cat died today,” leaving less vocal friends with more options than just “like” to show sympathy.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a statement about the new buttons.
“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. 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.”
Engadget reports that the first tests could start as early as Friday in Ireland and Spain on iOS, Android, and desktops — a typical strategy for the firm is to test features in small areas first.
The company will be watching to see user reactions to the new options and will be refining them as they go. If the buttons take off in the smaller markets, they will be introduced to the larger Facebook community later this year.
The new buttons will apply to user pages as well as individual posts, but in the ad manager all reactions will translate as a “like.”
Although it’s still in testing, Facebook officials say the new design comes from studying numerous user reactions and comments to see which are most universally expressed.
The new reaction buttons will have to translate well across borders and cultures according to Adam Mosseri, director of Facebook’s news feed, explaining “we tried to find the ones that are most universally used.”
According to Newsmax, some users were relieved to hear that Facebook was taking a more nuanced approach to requests for more button options.
User Maureen Sherman posted, “Thank goodness Facebook did not listen to those who want a dislike button.
“It would have been just another place where people could vent their frustrations, bully others, shame through social shunning and on and on… So yes thank you Facebook for consciously acting in the defense of those of us who have been disliked. Communication will be enhanced by us resonating with a person not annihilating them.”
The company has been under pressure for the new reaction buttons because of shifting technologies. More and more of the roughly 1.5 billion Facebook users have been using the site on their mobile phones, where it’s harder to type long messages.
So far the response to the reaction buttons is good. According to ABC News, Chief Product Officer Chris Cox released a statement on Facebook saying the company hoped the new buttons would be rolled out to everyone soon, which received 7,500 likes in just two hours. Then again, we’ll never know how many dislikes that post would have received.