Oct22

Facebook Gets Emotional

Posted by Kelly Kirkham

Facebook is testing alternatives to the ‘like’ button in the form of emojis so that we never again have to face the awkwardness of accidentally pressing like on your friend’s dead pet post.

How often do you wish you had a ‘dislike’ button when scrolling through your feed? What about a ‘love’ button? Well Facebook has heard our cries and is now beta testing an extended ‘like’ button option that includes seven emojis. We have all learned that a ‘like’ button just isn’t enough to truly express the wide ranges of emotion that can be found on a normal news feed.

In September, CEO and founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook was working to appease those calling for a ‘dislike’ button and the internet did what it always does – it worked itself into a giant and unnecessary frenzy. “What would a ‘dislike’ button do for our online street cred?”, “What if I get countless dislikes on a great selfie?”… You get the idea.
Facebook responded to the rumors on October 8th, announcing that the options were not exactly in line with the concept of a negative combatant for individual posts, but rather a variety of new options that can be used to empathize with your friends list. The new feature has been named “Facebook Reactions”, and comprises seven common emotions shown through emojis that we are accustomed to using through text and chat platforms.

reactionsgif

Along with the thumbs up we are all familiar with, the expansion will include a heart or “Love” button, a laughing face or “Haha”, followed by icons named “Yay”, “Wow”, “Sad” and “Anger”. If the faces look familiar, they should as they are all based on long-established emoji characters, although Facebook has renamed the characters when transferring to their platform.

Many have noted that the complex emotional range of the average human being extends far beyond these seven icons, but in reality Facebook politics are confusing enough as it is. Why confuse the matter further with emotions that range from ‘unamused’ to ‘sarcastic’? Any more options would create too many feelings for the average Facebook user.

Mark Zuckerberg commented on the “too many feels” quagmire in a Q&A last December:

Everyone feels like they can just push the Like button, and that’s an important way to sympathize or empathize with someone. Giving people the power to do that in more ways with more emotions would be powerful, but we need to figure out the right way to do it so it ends up being a force for good, not a force for bad.

“Facebook Reactions” is beta testing in Ireland and Spain. If all goes well we can expect to see an update implementing the helpful faces in the near future.

What are your feelings towards Facebook’s emotional exploration?

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