Facebook No Longer Just Has A ‘Like’ Button, Thanks To Global Launch Of Emoji ‘Reactions’

After more than a year of working to build alternatives to its trademark ”like” button, Facebook’s has globally launched emoji “Reactions.”

Users can still respond to a post or comment with the traditional “like” button. But starting Wednesday, holding down the “like” button on mobile or hovering over the icon on desktop, gives users an expanded menu allowing them to choose from six different animated emoji “Reactions”: Like, Love, Haha, Wow Sad or Angry. “Reactions” are designed to be an extension of the “like” button as opposed to a full-on replacement. Users will be notified when their posts receive ”Reactions” in the same way they’re notified about “likes.”

Facebook said it wanted to give users more authentic ways to quickly and easily respond to posts, whether they are sad, serious, funny or happy. Before emoji “Reactions,” users were often put in the awkward position of resorting to “liking” a post about a death or one that expressed frustration or disappointment, without distinction from how one would “like” an engagement photo. “Reactions” should solve this problem.

“We heard from people that they wanted more ways to express themselves on Facebook,” said Facebook product manager Sammi Krug. “When people come to Facebook, they share all kinds of different things, things that make them sad, things that make them happy, thought-provoking, angry. We kept hearing from people that they didn’t have a way to express empathy.”

“Reactions” should also help Facebook FB boost clicks. Krug said the team was initially concerned that housing “Reactions” behind the “like” button could make the feature difficult for users to find, but that hasn’t been the case. Users who have ”Reactions” have already been responding more frequently to posts than users without them. A bump in Facebook’s already strong engagement would be well received by investors, as well as by advertisers, who can learn more about users through data on their emotional response to content.

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