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You Can Now ‘Love’ or Be Angry At Facebook News Feed Stories

After several months of testing, Facebook Reactions lets users respond to News Feed stories with more emotions than a mere “Like.”
Image: Facebook

A significant update to Facebook's ubiquitous "Like" button may forever change the way you interact with your friends online.

Facebook on Wednesday morning began rolling out Reactions, a more nuanced version of the Like button that allows users to respond to News Feed items with an expanded range of emotions including Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry, accessed by a long press on mobile or by hovering over the Like button on a computer.


The company formally began work on Reactions about a year ago to help users more easily express themselves when confronted with challenging News Feed posts.

"People come to Facebook to share all different kinds of things," Reactions Product Manager Sammi Krug recently told me. "They share things that make them happy, they share things that make them sad, they share things that are thought-provoking, and they share things that are hilarious."

Before settling on these particular emotions, Facebook performed extensive research on the kinds of comments and stickers users were leaving on each other's posts. This "helped inform us what people were trying to react with right now that we could make even easier for them," Krug said. Signaling how important Reactions is to the company, Krug said that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg even offered continual input throughout the development process.

The launch of Reactions addresses the common criticism that social networking doesn't allow room for emotional nuance: Are you supposed to "Like" a post by a friend who revealed she was laid off? What about a link to a news article about Europe's ongoing refugee crisis?

Before the launch of Reactions, Facebook users were limited to not interacting at all (which could be construed as being cold or uncaring), leaving a potentially awkward Like, or taking the time to write a thoughtful comment—something that's not exactly easy while pecking away on a mobile device (1.44 billion of Facebook's 1.59 billion monthly active users access the site using a mobile device).

Facebook first began testing Reactions late last year in select markets like Spain and Portugal. According to Krug, the most popular Reaction in test markets was Love. "I'm very interested to see how it goes in a global roll out," she said while laughing, "but Love has definitely been the most used Reaction so far."