The six new emojis are “Love,” “Haha,” “Yay,” “Wow,” “Sad,” and “Angry.”
Update 02/24/16: Facebook Reactions released world-wide
Facebook is testing a set of new emojis that will compliment the “Like” button, the social network said. Reactions, as they are called, are an attempt to humanize the old “Like” button, which is one of only three methods of expressions on Facebook, the two being “Comment” and “Share.”
The six new emojis are “Love,” “Haha,” “Yay,” “Wow,” “Sad,” “Angry.” Each emoji is interactive, accurately depicting its corresponding emotion. The Love emoticon, for instance, beats like a real heart when picked. The Haha emoticon shows a laughing emoticon, while the sad emoticon sheds a tear. I personally love the angry emoticon, which turns red in a few seconds.
The goal of Reactions, the company said, is to show stories that matter most to users. By studying the posts that made you laugh and happy, Facebook will know which posts to show on your news feed. Facebook achieves this by tracking your use of the new emoticons. In principle, the posts and statuses that made you sad and angry are less likely to appear in your feed.
This reminds me of Facebook's heartless experiment in 2014, in which the social network manipulated the news feeds of thousands of randomly-picked users. The test, which Facebook labeled a psychological test, showed that posts—either positive or negative—can influence a user's emotion. Facebook later apologized for surreptitiously conducting the experiment.
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Today we're launching a test of Reactions -- a more expressive Like button. The Like button has been a part of Facebook for a long time. Billions of Likes are made every day, and Liking things is a simple way to express yourself.For many years though, people have asked us to add a "dislike" button. Not every moment is a good moment, and sometimes you just want a way to express empathy. These are important moments where you need the power to share more than ever, and a Like might not be the best way to express yourself. At a recent Townhall Q&A, I shared with our community that we've spent a lot of time thinking about the best way to give you better options for expressing yourself, while keeping the experience simple and respectful. Today we're starting to test this.Reactions gives you new ways to express love, awe, humor and sadness. It's not a dislike button, but it does give you the power to easily express sorrow and empathy -- in addition to delight and warmth. You’ll be able to express these reactions by long pressing or hovering over the Like button. We’re starting to test Reactions in Ireland and Spain and will learn from this before we bring the experience to everyone. We hope you like this – or can better express how you’re feeling!Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, October 8, 2015
Facebook's experiments are meant to improve its products and services. We've seen M, the company's own hybrid digital personal assistant and many more. Reactions is one of them. Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg said that the company is contemplating on a “Dislike” button, stressing the importance of giving more options to users.
This means that the new emoticons, situated beside a new interactive Like button, are Facebook's way of adding the much-requested Dislike button. Why not? A sad emoticon is more polite than a Dislike, and an angry emoticon is more expressive than a boring I-don't-like button.
“Not every moment is a good moment, and sometimes you just want a way to express empathy. These are important moments where you need the power to share more than ever, and a Like might not be the best way to express yourself,” writes Mark Zuckerberg.
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Facebook plans to rollout the feature to all users, although it didn't say when. As part of the testing, Facebook users in Spain and Ireland can access the new icons. Why the two countries? Facebook says that the two countries are ideal for the tests because they have strong national user bases, with lesser networks of friends around the world.