You'll soon be able to do more than just Like a Facebook post

Get ready to click Sad, Angry or Wow buttons for friend's posts

You see a friend's Facebook post about the death of a pet, the loss of a job or an annoying encounter they had at work. You want to acknowledge the post but you don't want to click the Like button. Those aren't likeable posts.

Maybe you'd prefer to click on a Sad button or a Love button or a Wow button. In a few weeks, you'll have that option.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Facebook's Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, said the company is adding five new reactions to the popular Like button. Although he wouldn't give a specific date for the change, he did say it would be "in the next few weeks."

And no, there won't be a dislike button.

Instead, when users hold down the Like button, they'll get other options -- angry, sad, wow, haha and love.

The reactions will pop up as yellow animated emojis that are designed to bounce and change expressions to make their meaning clear. And according to the Bloomberg report, posts will show the tallies of the different post responses.

The plans for new Facebook reactions come about a month and a half after Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, said in a town hall forum that his team was working on creating options that would go beyond the Like button.

This is going to be a big change for Facebook. The social network's Like button has become one of its most popular and well-known functions on the site. People "like" posts about a friend finishing a marathon, reading a great book, sliding in the snow or finding a new job.

According to Facebook, users click on the Like button about 6 billion times a day. And it's become important to organizations and companies, which use it to gauge interest in their products, events and marketing pushes.

With more reaction options, individual users and businesses now will have more information about what their friends and followers think about what they're doing.

"These new buttons give them so much more information than the Like button," said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy. "With that, they can better target ads and offers. This could be very valuable, since better-targeted ads are better performing and more expensive."

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, noted that the additional reaction options give everyone, including ad buyers, a chance to take that information in and respond to it.

"In this world of big data and analytics, more Information is better," he added. "If something is making people mad, a company could post a response acknowledging it. Facebook is giving people more ways to interact."

For Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, this is a big move for Facebook because users are so comfortable with the social network's features and look. If big changes aren't made with care, users could stop commenting as often.

"You always want to make your service as effortless as possible, and Facebook is very aware of that design goal," said Gottheil. "Any good designer knows that choice is a trade off. The user gains power, but exerts more effort. Facebook was clever to hide the choices under the Like icon. This gives people the ability to provide more input without much more effort."

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Sharon Gaudin

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
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