The set of five new animated emoji expand on the now ubiquitous Like button and include Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry. The Yay emoticon that was present during the pilot launch has not made the cut.
It is the first time that Facebook has offered an extension to the Like button since its inception, and the rollout follows CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s desire to bring a solution that offered more options. Zuckerberg revealed at a press event in September that users had complained about the inability to express empathy, frustration, dissatisfaction and humour when responding to a post.
Users can select one of the five new emotions by pressing down on the Like button on mobile devices and hovering over it on a computer desktop. They will then be able to see how many people have reacted in a similar manner, as the top three reactions, total reactions and every user who has posted a reaction will be viewable.
The global rollout follows a pilot that was carried out in Ireland, Spain and Japan in October 2015. All users across iOS and Android will have to update the Facebook application to see the new feature, but it will be added automatically on web browsers by Thursday. Facebook has also confirmed that the Reactions will have the same impact on ad delivery as the Like button.
Facebook product manager Sammi Krug said in a blog post “We understand that this is a big change, and want to be thoughtful about rolling this out. For more than a year we have been conducting global research including focus groups and surveys to determine what types of reactions people would want to use most.
“We also looked at how people are already commenting on posts and the top stickers and emoticons as signals for the types of reactions people are already using to determine which reactions to offer.” Facebook has confirmed that Reactions will evolve over time and that options may be changed depending on feedback.