Facebook users have long asked for a Dislike button, or options other than Like. On February 24, Facebook answered with Reactions, emoji representing Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry. You can add one by long-pressing the Like button in the mobile app or hovering over the Like button on desktop to see the animated options.
5 alternatives to Like
Reactions' global rollout is one of the most significant changes ever to hit Facebook, because the Like function is so widely used. We always wondered why expanded options hadn't come sooner, since users have clamored for a Dislike button since the Like button's introduction in 2009. One Facebooker even started a page dedicated to the need for a Dislike button. Now we have five alternatives.
Are 6 Reactions enough?
Over the past couple weeks, we've enjoyed using the more nuanced reactions and watching how others have used them. Adding them is quicker and more intuitive than adding a third-party emoji. Of course, a sad emoji is no replacement for more substantial support when a friend is troubled.
And we still want more choices, since the range of emotions can't be expressed by just six emoticons. What about an exasperation emoji for when a friend has posted their sixth selfie of the hour? Or an envy reaction when a frenemy lands a dream job? And we still want that Dislike button.
Reasons not to react
A Facebook product manager has said that eventually the News Feed algorithm will use Reactions to weigh what you see in your feed. We'll have to see how that works out, but it seems conceptually flawed -- being sad or angry about a post doesn't necessarily mean you want to see less about, say, your friend's health scare or the 2016 election.
Of course, Reactions will also feed into Page Insights, so publishers, businesses, and marketers will see how people are responding. There's speculation that these Reactions will help retailers better target ads to the over 1 billion consumers on the popular social network. So you may have cause for pause before offering your next reaction.