Facebook understands its "like" button doesn't work in all circumstances — you don't, for instance, want to hit "like" on your friend's post about their dead cat — so it's rolling out a test with six "reactions" that allow you to respond to posts with different emotions.
The "reactions" — Love, Haha, Yay, Wow, Sad, and Angry — show up when you hold down the Like button for about a half second on mobile, or hover over it on desktop. They are rolling out, at first, in Spain and Ireland, but Facebook Product Manager Adam Mosseri told BuzzFeed News that they may be available more broadly within weeks.
"As you can see, it's not a 'dislike' button, though we hope it addresses the spirit of this request more broadly," said Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox in a post about Reactions this morning.
The six "reactions" are still in testing mode, so Facebook may take one away, or even add another. Just don't get your hopes up for an actual "dislike" button.
The big question about these "reactions" is how Facebook will use the data it collects from them. Advertisers might want to reach the people who "Angry" their competitors' posts, or they may want to spend more money to reach the people who "Yay" and "Wow" their posts. Facebook will have to be careful about how it makes this data available, if it does at all, or risk provoking an unkind reaction of its own.
Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.
Contact Alex Kantrowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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