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Facebook announced Thursday that it will test six new reaction emojis that express a range of emotions beyond the social network’s iconic “like” button.
The new icons, called “Reactions,” include a red-faced emoji for anger, a heart for love and a gobsmacked face for surprise. Other emotions represented are laughter, sadness and happiness, or “Yay.”
“As you can see, it’s not a ‘dislike’ button, though we hope it addresses the spirit of this request more broadly,” Facebook’s chief product officer Chris Cox wrote in a post on the website Thursday. “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.”
Facebook will first roll out the new options in Spain and Ireland as early as this week, before it decides to make them widely available to its users worldwide later this year, Adam Mosseri, the social network’s director of product, told The New York Times. The company will refine the buttons after it evaluates how people used them, he said.
Last month, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder and chief executive, said the company was creating a way to “dislike” a post. Zuckerberg said there were moments, such as posts about global and personal tragedies, where a “like” button did not suffice.
“What [users] really want is the ability to express empathy,” he said. “Not every moment is a good moment.”
The new buttons do not include a thumbs-down option, but a sad emoji would be a more sympathetic option for a friend’s post about their recent breakup.
Joshua Barajas is a senior editor for the PBS NewsHour's Communities Initiative. He also the senior editor and manager of newsletters.
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