DUBLIN: Facebook will begin testing a new feature allowing users to express a range of emotions on posts in Ireland and Spain from Friday – but there will be no “dislike” button, the social network said.
“We are testing Reactions, an extension of the ‘like’ button, to give you more ways to share your reaction to a Facebook post in a quick and easy way,” Facebook said in a statement.
Users have for years pressed the world’s largest social network to introduce a “dislike” button to complement the existing thumbs up button, which allows users to express their “like” for a post.
Last month Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said users wanted “the ability to express empathy” because “not every moment is a good moment”.
On Friday a trial will begin in Ireland and Spain where users can select six emotions as well as the like button on posts.
The options for the trial are: love, yay, wow, haha, sad, and angry, and are similar to emojis used in text messaging.
Chris Toss, Facebook product manager, said Reactions would give users greater ways of engaging with stories and content.
“It’s a much broader range of human emotions you can express,” he told the Irish national broadcaster RTE.
A spokesperson had no information on the length of the trial or when it might be extended to Facebook’s users outside Ireland and Spain.
Toss also said the social network decided a “dislike” button would not “add value” to the site.
“We felt by giving you a bunch of different ways of expressing yourself and saying ‘This is how I feel about content’ as opposed to just something that’s positive or something that’s negative,” he said, speaking from California.
“Liking” something on Facebook also plays a key role in the social network’s algorithm, allowing users to see content they regularly engage with it, and also allowing for targeted advertising.
The new range of empathy buttons could eventually be used for similar purposes, but not during the trial.
“If you’re coming for humorous content and you’re saying ‘haha’ to lots of funny cat videos, down the road we might use that to show you more cat videos, but as of the initial test you won’t see any of that,” Toss said.