Facebook has announced that it is introducing five new responses alongside the like button, following months of speculation since a September 2015 statement that the social media giant would be exploring various other emotional responses than the like feature. The like button was limited in usefulness for those wishing to respond to content with a wider range of emotions and extensions of the like feature would enable users to say more in this regard. Businesses are predicted to gather important information about their products and services from the reactions.
What will the new responses be?
The long-anticipated dislike button, commented on by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, will not be included in the package due to concerns that such a response would lead to increased incidents of cyberbullying. The five new responses, manifesting as animated emoticons, consist of “love”, “haha”, “wow”, “sad” as well as “angry” and are available to Facebook users as of February 2016. These responses are designed to provide users with opportunities to express a broader spectrum of emotions without resorting to outright negativity.
What was the process that led to this latest feature?
There have been calls for an extension of Facebook’s like feature for years and for more than twelve months research was conducted by the social media giant into what their customers were looking for. Stickers, emoticons and comments attached to Facebook posts were also taken into consideration while people’s thoughts were gathered through surveys and focus groups. In October 2015 six new buttons were tested on a trial basis by users in Ireland, Japan and Spain with the “yay” reaction ultimately being dropped thus bringing the number down to five.
Is this new feature applicable to all platforms and devices?
While web browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Internet Explorer and Edge will feature the new responses on the Facebook website without users having to do anything those who use the Facebook app on their smartphones will need to update the app in order to access the new features. The update will be available on iPhone and Android devices although it has yet to be confirmed whether or not Windows or Blackberry devices shall have the same option. It is likely that this new feature will spread to all platforms and devices.
How will this new feature evolve over time?
For the time being using any of the six reactions will affect Facebook algorithms in the same way as pressing like would have done, bumping that content up the rankings. Over time, however, certain reactions may have a greater impact on the post’s rankings than others. “Like” or “love”, for example, may increase the visibility of posts more than sad, shocked or angry although only time will tell how this unfolds. The choice of reactions might change over time depending on how users respond to them and it is possible that some reactions may be phased out while new ones are introduced.