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Facebook launches Reactions, a ‘more expressive like button’

Facebook has officially announced a new Reactions feature, that’ll allow users to leave a series of nuanced, emoji-based responses to posts, which stretch beyond the firm’s traditional like button.

As rumoured earlier on Thursday, the Reactions pilot, which starts today in Spain and Ireland, will present a series of seven emojis that represent the feelings most “commonly and universally expressed across Facebook.”

Those new Reactions can be accessed by long-pressing or hovering over the like button to reveal a new menu.

From there users will be able slide their finger across the screen to select from  animated angry, sad, wow, yay, haha, love and the traditional like emoji.

It’s far from the rumoured Dislike button that’s been requested for years and rumoured again in recent weeks, but Facebook’s Chris Cox says he hopes Reactions “addresses the spirit of this request.”

What Cox means by that, is the ability to express sympathy or concern without the ill-fitting, all-encompassing like button, rather than a way to give an opinion or post a down vote.

In a post on his personal Facebook page Cox, the firm’s Chief Product Officer, wrote:

“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.

“Starting today Ireland and Spain can start loving, wow-ing, or expressing sympathy to posts on Facebook by hovering or long-pressing the Like button wherever they see it. We’ll use the feedback from this to improve the feature and hope to roll it out to everyone soon.”

Facebook says it plans to use the pilot scheme to discover what works best before refining and rolling out to other nations.

In essence, this seems a smart play by Facebook, which will also allow businesses crucial insight beyond the traditional ‘like’ button.

“We see this as an opportunity for businesses and publishers to better understand how people are responding to their content on Facebook,” product manager Chris Tosswill added.

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