Though Facebook’s “like” button has become iconic in the world of social media, last week Facebook added five other buttons for people to better express their emotions online.
The new buttons are “love,” “wow,” “sad,” and “angry” and are referred to as “Reactions.” The buttons pop up when hovering over the “like” button on a computer or by long pressing the button on a phone.
In the past, when there was a post about something tragic, the only way to interact was to “like” it, not express sorrow or anger. The addition of Reactions was created to allow a more accurate depiction of emotion.
In 2014, Facebook stickers became accessible on nearly all parts of the website, except for Facebook Pages. Frequently used stickers were monitored, which led to the creation of Reactions.
Reactions were in production for over a year, said Hope King of CNN.
After extensive research about what Reactions would allow people to express themselves best, the Reactions were narrowed down to the five new buttons, according to the L.A. Times
Choosing the Reactions was not the only reason it took so long to develop. It took some time to figure out the easiest way for people to use them.
Pulling up a menu of Reactions might take too long and displaying all of them for each post might be overwhelming, which is why Zuckerberg brought up the idea of the long press on phones, Zhou told the L.A. Times.
Vyvyan Evans, a professor of linguistics at Bangor University who studies the use of emoji in communication. “The stratospheric rise of emoji is essentially fulfilling the function of nonverbal cues in spoken communication,” he told Wired.
Julie Zhou, a product design director of Facebook, told Wired that the Reactions add a quicker way of showing how people feel about something, rather than taking the time to type a comment out.
Facebook has had many changes in the past, whether it be a new appearance or addition of a new element, like stickers and Reactions. So far, the “like” button is still the most common, but the countries tested, began to use the Reactions over time, Zhou told the L.A. Times.