Deep down we knew that Mark Zuckerberg will never have a dislike button, the prophecy has come true. Facebook has announced that it is testing six emoji-based buttons in Ireland and Spain that give users the option to express sentiments other than like. The new possibilities—which appear alongside the Like button—include “love,” “haha,” “yay,” “wow,” “sad” and “angry.” Facebook is calling them ‘Reactions’.
The buzz around the dislike button heated up once again last month when Mark, in a public Q&A organized at Facebook, informed that Facebook is building a new button but it is not a dislike button. “I think people have asked about the Dislike button for many years…today is the day where I actually get to say that we’re working on it, and are very close to shipping a test of it.”
Media went berserk by typing in bold that a dislike button is coming soon. However Mark had stressed the fact that Facebook had no intention to build a Dislike button because Facebook wants to stay away from being a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts. “That doesn’t seem like the kind of community we want to create.”
Talking about the launch of Reactions, Facebook’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, explained in a Facebook post, “As you can see, it’s not a “dislike” button, though we hope it addresses the spirit of this request more broadly. We studied which comments and reactions are most commonly and universally expressed across Facebook, then worked to design an experience around them that was elegant and fun.”
The emoji options will appear across mobile and desktop versions of Facebook on posts from friends, Pages or advertisers. People pressing or hovering over the Like button will be presented with the emoji options. There will be no option to turn off the feature on posts. However, Facebook hasn’t shared a time frame for a global roll out.
The move isn’t surprising when we have already seen from users to brands everyone is trying to create conversations with just emojis. From McDonald’s to Ikea to BuzzFeed conducting UK’s first political interview entirely in emoji with Kezia Dugdale everyone prefer emojis. In fact in a recent report from Emotional marketing platform Emogi stated that emoji are used by 92 percent of the online population, with gender being a larger factor in emoji use than age.
Impact on NewsFeed
Facebook has said that during the testing phase it is going to treat the Reactions emoji just like a Like when it comes to ranking posts in the News Feed algorithm. “Our goal is to show you the stories that matter most to you in News Feed. 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,” said Facebook product manager Chris Toss.
For brands and publishers this is another opportunity to observe how people are reacting to the content that is being shared on the network. During the test, 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 do. We will spend time learning from this initial test and use that feedback to improve.”
This is a bold step from Facebook, even though there isn’t a dislike button but emojis like sad, angry, yay are enough to gauge the user reaction on the content shared. With more and more brands investing on content marketing this is a positive step for marketers as well as users.