Facebook users are about to see a lot more emotions in their News Feeds, as the social network announced the global launch of the Reactions extension to its like button via Android, iOS, desktop and mobile Web.
Facebook began testing Reactions in October after co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed during a town hall in September that the social network was working on ways for users to express emotions beyond the like button, although rabid speculation about a dislike button was soon quashed.
Holding down the like button on mobile devices or hovering over it on desktop will allow users to choose between like, love, haha, wow, sad and angry.
Product manager Sammi Krug said in a Newsroom post announcing the global rollout:
Every day, people come to Facebook to discover what’s happening in their world and around the world, and to share all kinds of things, whether that’s updates that are happy, sad, funny or thought-provoking. News Feed is the central way you can get updates about your friends, family and anything else that matters to you, and the central place to have conversations with the people you care about. We’ve been listening to people and know that there should be more ways to easily and quickly express how something you see in News Feed makes you feel. That’s why today we are launching Reactions, an extension of the like button, to give you more ways to share your reaction to a post in a quick and easy way.
We understand that this is a big change, and we want to be thoughtful about rolling this out. For more than one year, we have been conducting global research, including focus groups and surveys, to determine what types of reactions people would want to use most. We also looked at how people are already commenting on posts and the top stickers and emoticons as signals for the types of reactions people are already using to determine which reactions to offer.
Our goal with News Feed is to show you the stories that matter most to you. Initially, just as we do when someone likes a post, if someone uses a Reaction, we will infer they want to see more of that type of post. In the beginning, it won’t matter if someone likes, “wows” or “sads” a post—we will initially use any Reaction similar to a like to infer that you want to see more of that type of content. Over time, we hope to learn how the different Reactions should be weighted differently by News Feed to do a better job of showing everyone the stories they most want to see.
We see this as an opportunity for businesses and publishers to better understand how people are responding to their content on Facebook. Page owners will be able to see Reactions to all of their posts on page insights. Reactions will have the same impact on ad delivery as likes. We will spend time learning from this rollout and use feedback to improve. Overall, pages should continue to post things that their audience finds meaningful and continue using our page post best practices.
The Reactions feature has come a long way since Zuckerberg’s comments during a Sept. 15 Q&A at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., when he said in response to a question about the social network launching a dislike button:
People have asked about the dislike button for many years, and probably hundreds of people have asked about this, and today is a special day because today is the day that I actually get to say we are working on it, and are very close to shipping a test of it.