Facebook recently hinted that it was considering expanding the like button — not with a dislike button, but with ways to express empathy or sadness.
On Thursday, the company took the wraps off "Reactions," a set of six emoji that will be placed alongside the standard thumbs-up, allowing users to quickly respond to a post with a much wider range of emotions.
The options will include "like," "love," "haha," "yay," "wow," "sad" and "angry."
According to Facebook, the new range of emotions will initially be tested only in Ireland and Spain, after which the company will decide whether it wants to tweak the system and roll it out to a larger user base.
Of course, using a set of emoji makes sense for Facebook — certainly a lot more sense than a "dislike" button. While a dislike button could be a negative way to expand emotions, adding emoji will be familiar to users and will make it much less likely that people could use Facebook for things like online bullying.
Reactions will appear on both mobile and on desktop, and will be under all posts on the News Feed.
Currently, it does not seem as though Facebook will be rolling out the feature to platforms like Messenger or Instagram, even though it would certainly make sense on Instagram.
Using Reactions will be pretty easy. Alongside the like button, users will also have an emoji, which they can tap to bring up the list of options available. Use of Reactions will also be tallied, so while users currently can see how many people have liked their post, users will also be able to see how many people have pressed on each emoji for that post.
You can check out a video showing Reactions below.
Facebook provided more details about Reactions in a post:
Today we're launching a test of Reactions — a more expressive Like button. The Like button has been a part of Facebook for a long time. Billions of Likes are made every day, and Liking things is a simple way to express yourself. 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. These are important moments where you need the power to share more than ever, and a Like might not be the best way to express yourself.
At a recent Townhall Q&A, I shared with our community that we've spent a lot of time thinking about the best way to give you better options for expressing yourself, while keeping the experience simple and respectful. Today we're starting to test this. 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. We’re starting to test Reactions in Ireland and Spain and will learn from this before we bring the experience to everyone. We hope you like this — or can better express how you’re feeling!
Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, October 8, 2015