Facebook to Launch Reactions ‘In the Next Few Weeks’

By David Cohen Comment

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The Reactions extension to Facebook’s like button, initially announced by co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg last September, will be officially launched “in the next few weeks.”

Chief product officer Chris Cox broke the news to Bloomberg Businessweek as part of a profile of Cox and a detailed look at how Reactions came to be.

Cox told Bloomberg Businessweek the feature will roll out “in the next few weeks,” in the U.S. and globally, adding:

We roll things out very carefully, and that comes from a lot of lessons learned.

A Facebook spokesperson also told Bloomberg Businessweek that “yay,” which was originally one of the options in Reactions, didn’t make the cut because “it was not universally understood.”

Cox told Bloomberg Businessweek he originally brought up the idea of tinkering with the like button at an off-site meeting to discuss projects six top executives were most eager to take on in 2015, adding that director of product for News Feed Adam Mosseri backed him up, as did Zuckerberg when he was briefed about the plan.

According to Cox, the project began with researchers narrowing down the most frequent responses to posts into six reactions– angry, sad, wow, haha, yay and love. He added that outside sociologists were consulted in an effort to be thorough.

The social network began testing Reactions in Ireland and Spain last October, followed soon thereafter by Chile, the Philippines, Portugal and Colombia.

Japan was next up, with Bloomberg Businessweek reporting that Cox told reporters at Facebook’s offices in that country:

You can love something, you can be sad about something, you can laugh out loud at something. We know on phones people don’t like to use keyboards, and we also know that the like button does not always let you say what you want.

Cox told Bloomberg Businessweek the eventual goal was “a universal vocabulary that lets people express emotion as they scroll through their feed,” adding that the biggest test of the feature so far occurred after the terrorist attacks in Paris last November, and saying:

It just felt different to use Facebook that day.

Readers: Are you looking forward to the launch of Reactions?

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