Today, Facebook messed with its secret sauce, which is borderline suicidal. But it worked.
Facebook rolled out their new set of like buttons, called “reactions.” They let you be more expressive on posts.
You can now “Love,” “Haha,” “Wow,” “Sad,” and “Angry” posts instead of just liking them. Each emotion comes with an animated emoji.
Just place your mouse over the like button for a second and the new reactions light up. If you’re mobile, hold “like” for longer or press a little stronger on new iPhones.
When you want to change the like button on Facebook, you’re practically flirting with the rage of billions of users worldwide.
That’s exactly what Chris Cox did.
About a year ago in Silicon Valley, Chris, Facebook’s chief product officer, attended a meeting with the top 6 executives. Each spoke about the top three projects they wanted to work on in 2015. Chris chose to deal with likes.
One of the most wanted features people wanted was the “dislike” button. But, as Chris points out in this article at Bloomberg Business, the “dislike” would introduce a lot more negativity to the platform.
If the “like” button was made to make interactions on the newsfeed faster – just like someone’s post about being engaged, instead of being the 20th person to say congratulations – then Reactions were made to deal with posts that extend beyond the singular emotion of liking something.
Posts for sad events, like someone’s passing, can now be tentatively addressed with “Sad” reaction instead of confusingly liking them.
There were two more reactions planned: “Yay” and “Confused” but they were scrapped. Probably because they weren’t performing well during the first rollout phase. Reactions launched in Ireland and Spain for some reason, months before the rest of the world.
This just well may be the beginning for Facebook Reactions.
(one of the many iterations Reactions went through)
What about ads?
1.6 billion people click “like” more than 6 billion times a day. That’s more than what people search on Google. And that translates into billions of advertising dollars. A lot of cheddar for such a small button.
The News Feed algorithm will remain unchanged; it counts all reactions as likes. But this could change over time, like many things at Facebook.
There won’t be any special ad targeting options based on these reactions. Advertisers might enjoy more nuanced data on their ads, but won’t be able to create ads specifically for people who mostly use one reaction of the other. For now.
The most popular Reaction so far? Love.
That’s more than anyone can hope for when launching features on Facebook – or, you know, when they’re flirting with the rage of billions.