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Facebook Finally Lets Users Have Feelings Other Than Happiness with ‘Reactions’

The days of liking tragedy and mayhem are over.
Image: Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg let it slip a month ago at a Q&A that Facebook was working on a dislike button, but then later corrected himself to say the company was working on "empathy buttons." And starting today, users in Spain and Ireland will have the chance to test six of those buttons out in the form of emojis that can be attached as reactions to status updates.

Facebook says that the test will be limited to Spain and Ireland as users there tend to have friend groups limited to their country's borders. In other words, it's a fairly reliable closed test group.

Image: Facebook

The social media giant has, until now, evaded every opportunity to give users the ability to express something other than "liking" something outside of commenting. And while Buzzfeed beat them to the punch—their "LOL" "win" "omg" stickers are instantly recognizable—Facebook's addition of reactions will nevertheless make a larger splash in what might be the network's most significant structural addition in recent history.

After all, while we've gone to hell and back on how the simple and yet actually very complicated Facebook's Like button is, it can't be the catch-all for all human emotions. Deaths and personal tragedies should immediately come to mind. The addition should come as a boon to users who feel commenting makes too much of a spectacle, and "like" isn't really appropriate. And moreover, this will give advertisers and other interested companies a better gauge of how viewers actually feel about things they post on social media.

Remember all the brands that ever flubbed on 9/11 memorial posts? Well now you've got another way to give them a piece of your mind. Your anger, sadness, and feelings are now quantified.