Mark Zuckerberg hosted a Q&A last month in which he dropped the bombshell that Facebook was finally getting ready to release a "dislike" button. He actually did imply that was what was coming at first before kind of backtracking and clarifying that this isn't exactly what we would be getting.
In reality, we would get different types responses to express empathy and various emotions. The thinking is that people don't want to "like" status updates about deaths and other sad parts of life, but do want to be able to express empathy with a single click.
On Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg and co. officially announced "Reactions," which it is at first testing in Ireland and Spain before offering up to the rest of the world.
First off, let's step back and look at what Mark Zuckerberg actually said in the September Q&A:
I think people have asked about the dislike button for many years and probably hundreds of people have asked about this, and today is a special day because 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.
You know, it took us awhile to get here. Because you know, we didn’t want to just build a dislike button because, you know, we don’t want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts. Right? That doesn’t seem like the kind of community that we want to create. I mean, you don’t want to go through the process of sharing some moment that was important to you in your day and then have someone downvote it. That isn’t what we’re here to build in the world.
But over the years of people asking for this, what we kind of have come to understand is that people aren’t looking an ability to downvote other people’s posts. What they really want is to be able to express empathy.
You know, not every moment is a good moment, right? And if you are sharing something that is sad, whether it’s something in current events like the refugee crisis that touches you or if a family member past away, then it might not feel comfortable to Like that post. But your friends and people want to be able to express that they understand and that they relate to you.
So I do think that it’s important to give people more options than just Like as a quick way to emote and share what they’re feeling on a post, so we’ve been working on this for awhile. It’s surprisingly complicated to make an interaction that you want to be that simple. But we have an idea that we think we’re going to be ready to test soon, and depending on how that does, we’ll roll it out more broadly.
But thank you for all the feedback on this over the years. I think we’ve finally heard you and we’re working on this and hopefully we will deliver something that meets the needs of our community...
Facebook Product manager Chris Tosswill gave more information about "Reactions" in a new blog post, calling it an "extension of the Like button that gives people more ways to share their reaction to a post in a quick and easy way."
"We’re excited to start this test, but understand that this is a big change, and one that we want to make sure to get right," he wrote. "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. We will spend time learning from this initial rollout and iterate based on findings in the future."
A new post on Mark Zuckerberg's own Facebook account says, "Reactions gives you new ways to express love, awe, humor and sadness. It's not a dislike button, but it does give you the power to easily express sorrow and empathy -- in addition to delight and warmth. You’ll be able to express these reactions by long pressing or hovering over the Like button."
You can check out the post for a video demonstrating the new feature.
Images via Facebook