Facebook “Reactions” are now live for all. This means that users of the social media site the world over finally have a way to acknowledge posts (without actually responding) beyond merely clicking the “Like” button.
For a long time now, Facebook users have been complaining that the “Like” option didn’t really express their reaction to certain posts, despite the fact that they wanted to somehow let the poster know they’d seen what was being shared. Now, CNN Money reports, Facebook “Reactions” will let users choose from “Love,” “Wow,” “Haha,” “Sad,” and “Angry,” in addition to the traditional “Like,” when responding to their friends’ posts.
As of February 24, all Facebook users will now have the option to use any one of the new reactions, in addition to “liking,” sharing or commenting on a post.
The new “Reactions” are easy to use. If you use Facebook mobile on your phone, just hold down the “Like” button and the new options will pop up for you to choose from. If you are using Facebook on your computer, just hover your cursor over the “Like” button and the rest of the Facebook “Reactions” will appear.
The pathway to the Facebook “Reactions” wasn’t a fast one. It took Facebook engineers, techs, researchers and product teams more than a year to get the new “Reactions” ready for launch. The Facebook team worked with focus groups, conducted surveys, and even worked with professional sociologists to narrow their emoticon choices to those which would make the grade. They also researched the emojis and stickers being used on Facebook to help them decide which “Reactions” would be the most popular and most useful for their users.
The goal, according to Facebook “Reactions” project manager Sammi Krug, was to make the “Reactions” “universally understood and equally useful.” Unfortunately, those aims were two of the biggest challenges of the entire endeavor.
“We wanted to be really, really careful about which reactions we [launched]. Are we giving people more tools to express themselves more accurately and authentically?”
While the “Reactions” went live globally on February 24, the new Facebook feature had already been in use in certain markets around the world for several months. Some of those countries include Chile, Spain, and Ireland. Overall, initial reactions to the “Reactions” have been overwhelmingly positive, with the new “Love” emoji being the most popular among Facebook users.
Despite the positive response to the new Facebook feature, the team at Facebook did have at least one big failure among potential “Reactions” choices. The social media giant had to do away with their planned “Yay” option, which was represented by a closed-eyed smiley, when it was discovered that not everyone knew what it meant or was supposed to represent. According to Krug, “that was one of the bigger surprises.”
While Facebook users are reacting well to the new “Reactions” roll-out and emoji choices, one “Reaction” that users won’t be able to choose from is “Dislike.” While Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO, hinted in September that a “Dislike” option might be coming to the platform, that idea was ultimately scrapped. Why? During a town Hall Q&A, Zuckerberg said that adding a “Dislike” option had the potential of turning the world’s biggest social media site into a place where posts were being “voted up or down,” something he wanted to avoid.
“That doesn’t seem like the kind of community that we want to create.”
The addition of the new “Reactions” feature to Facebook is one of the biggest single changes to the site since it was launched 12 years ago, akin to the Timeline and News Feed upgrades added in recent years. Like the upgrades that came before, “Reactions” was launched to keep people attached to the Facebook while keeping the highly popular site “fresh.”
[Image via @andymac71/Twitter]