Don’t worry, your Facebook posts will still get ‘likes.’
But starting on Wednesday, your friends can also “Wow,” “Haha” or “Love” your photos and status updates.
It’s a long-awaited change for Facebook that comes after years of people saying they wanted to be able to do more than just show approval at the click of a button.
The need for people to be able to easily share a wider range of emotions has become evident as an ever-greater variety of information is shared on Facebook, whether that be around horrors like the Paris terror attacks, or more intimate moments like the birth of a new baby.
The other animated buttons in the set of five new “Reactions” — “Sad” and “Angry” — are sure to get plenty of use during the ongoing election cycle, but are also handy for plenty of other posts where a “Like” just doesn’t feel right.
Users first got a peek at the new buttons in October of 2015.
Facebook took the decision to expand its palette of emotions beyond the Like button very seriously. The cheery blue thumbs-up sign has become synonymous with the social media site in the seven years since it was first introduced.
The new buttons are expressive indeed. “Sad” drops a fat teardrop, and we’re not sure what “Wow” is responding to exactly, but whatever it is, that little guy is having his socks knocked off.
“About a year ago, Mark [Zuckerberg]gathered a bunch of folks in a room and was like, guys, it’s time for us to take the feedback that we’ve been hearing from users for years around wanting the way that you react to posts to be a little bit more expressive than just the Like button,” said Julie Zhuo, director of product design for Facebook.
“We knew that it was going to be a pretty large endeavor, it’s a pretty big change, the Like button gets pressed a billion times a day,” Zhuo said.
Facebook spent more than a year looking into how people were already using short comments, emojis, and other quick little indicators of emotion outside of the Like button to get a sense for what users might want out of “Reactions.” And they had to make sure the same basic ideas were communicated to all of the 1.6 billion people around the world who use the social media site every month.
“We wanted to be pretty certain that what we were going to do was going to be the right set of things for people,” Zhuo said. “We didn’t want to take this change very lightly.”
Mobile users will have to upload to the most recent version of Facebook on Android or iOS as the new feature rolls out over the next few days.