Design

Facebook's Weird New Reaction Buttons Explained

If you’re a casual Facebook user, you might be wondering what the deal is with all those weird emoji things that are suddenly appearing below your posts. These are Facebook’s new reaction buttons for statuses that require more than a simple “like”. We explain what they do and how to get them.

For years now, Facebook users have been clamoring for different ways to interact with posts beyond the “Like” button. This week, the social media giant finally capitulated, adding five new reaction buttons to the mix: Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry. (Traditionalists have nothing to fear either; the original Like button remains unchanged.)

To add a reaction, hold down the Like button on your touch screen device or hover over it with your cursor. This will bring up the other reaction image options for you to tap or click on.

The rollout follows more than a year of research around the globe to determine which types of reactions are the most sought after. We’re willing to bet that a “Dislike” button was at the top of every survey’s list — but CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to keep Facebook a happy place.

Rather than allowing users to downvote posts they don’t like, the new buttons are supposed to be about expressing positivity in different ways. Even the Angry button works in this context; when you want to share mutual anger over a controversial news story, for example.

On paper, these additions do make a lot of sense: we’ve all seen gloom-and-doom statuses from friends and family before and wished there was some way to send a quick acknowledgement without composing a message. In these situations, clicking Like looks wrong, but ignoring the post doesn’t feel right either.

On the other hand, most people’s initial reaction tends to be along the lines of “what’s this crap?”, followed by an uneasy feeling that their personal space has been needlessly cluttered.

Plus, it opens up all-new ways to make users feel uncomfortable — like the fiftieth time in a row a barely-remembered high school acquaintance “loves” one of your posts. Yep, the creepers are going to have a field day.

We’re curious to hear what our Facebook-using readers think of the new reaction buttons. Let is know in the comments!


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