Facebook’s on the cusp of a big transition, one that will give its users new ways to interact with shared content, expressing their feelings about what they’re reading with a greatly expanded emotional vocabulary. Yup: we’re talking about “likes.” The idea of Facebook expanding beyond simple “like” feedback is one that’s been kicking around for the better part of ever, but without a clear vision of just how that might happen; maybe a “dislike” button is the most obvious option, but that just seems destined to invite a flood of negativity – this is the internet we’re talking about, after all. Instead, last fall we finally started hearing about a way this expansion could actually work, enhancing “like” with a slew of new emotional responses – Facebook’s aptly named “Reactions.” They’ve been in testing ever since, and it looks like it’s just about time for Reactions to become available to us all.
A new interview with Facebook’s Chris Cox outlines the path of development that led to Reactions, which set out to augment simple likes with responses categorized as angry, sad, wow, haha, yay, and love. Ultimately, we’re going to get most of those, but “yay” didn’t up making the final cut.
Users will access Reactions similarly to how they currently like posts, but a long-press on the like icon will see it expand to give them these new options.
Curious to give it a spin for yourself? Well, Facebook hasn’t shared a hard launch date just yet, but Cox is clear that the intent is to get things started quite soon, and a launch both in the US and markets around the world should be coming “in the next few weeks.” That said, Facebook may be very deliberate about when and where Reactions initially goes live, keeping a close eye on how users engage with it and implementing any last-minute tweaks as needed.