Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during a September town hall Q&A that the company is working on a way that could hugely change the way its 1.5 billion users use the platform. We all know he was referring to a type of “dislike” button, but now we have more clarity on what that means
In September, Zuckerberg said, “People have asked about the dislike button for many years. We’ve finally heard you and we’re working on this and we will deliver something that meets the needs of the larger community.”
This did create some initial fuss, but later the company clarified that it won’t be exactly a dislike button but a kind of empathy button. Such a button would allow users to acknowledge significant life events like bad news from a friend, such as a break-up, death of a loved one or a natural disaster.
Now, confirming what exactly it is working on, Facebook told TechCrunch that it is testing “Reactions,” a set of six emojis that express a range of emotions, which cannot be done with a simple thumb. Confirming it further, Facebook’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, said in a post on Thursday that it is not a “dislike” button and that the company hopes it is able to “address the spirit of this request broadly.”
Facebook conducting closed group testing
Facebook conducted an initial study to figure out the most common comments and reactions people use to express their feelings or emotions. Thereafter, they worked to design an experience around them that was both elegant and fun, Cox said. Emojis for “like,” “love,” “haha,” “yay,” “wow,” “sad” and “angry” are included in that experience. Explaining their use, Cox said a user can deploy them on updates from friends, pages that a user follows and brands they like.
Facebook’s director of product, Adam Mosseri, told TechCrunch that for now the company is testing Reactions only in two markets, Spain and Ireland, as the friend networks of users in these countries do not extend beyond national borders, thus making them ideal “closed test groups.”
Cox said the company will use feedback to improve the features and hopes to roll it out to everyone soon.