Mark Zuckerberg sparked a lot of debate and consternation when he recently hinted that a Facebook "dislike button" might finally be on the way, but the likely reality seems much less controversial.
Facebook is currently testing "Reactions," a collection of emoji-like icons that users can choose instead of the traditional "Like" button. It's a potential solution that falls in line with the predictions of many industry experts, who doubted that Facebook would adopt an upvote-downvote approach similar to Reddit.
The idea also builds on Facebook's success with Stickers, small animated drawings that users can post as reactions to friends' updates. "Typing on mobile is difficult," Facebook product director Adam Mosseri tells TechCrunch, "and this is way easier than finding a sticker or emoji to respond to in the feed."
Reactions currently being tested include Like, Love, Haha, Yay, Wow, Sad and Angry.
A primary motivation for the move is the practical problem that many users face when they see bad news being shared by a friend or brand. Should you "Like" news of a friend's father passing away or of Syria's migrant children sleeping in squalid conditions? The new options would expand users' ability to react with more nuanced emotion.
Brands and users would reportedly be able to see a simple count of how many different kinds of responses each post generated, which would also eventually be reflected in the analytics dashboard for page managers.