Facebook Reactions Emojis Leap Beyond Mere ‘Likes’ In Global Debut

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We’ve been talking about Facebook’s revamp of its “Like” system for months, but the social network giant today finally performed a global launch of new “Reactions” which should better allow people to express their feelings about a post. The long-standing thumbs up is now joined by a heart (Love), and emojis signifying laughter, surprise, sadness and anger.

The Reactions should go a long way towards cutting down on the awkwardness of Liking a post about a friend’s loved one dying or any number of horrific things that get posted to Facebook that we feel compelled to acknowledge with a Like.

“Not every moment you want to share is happy. Sometimes you want to share something sad or frustrating,” writes Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “Our community has been asking for a dislike button for years, but not because people want to tell friends they don't like their posts. People wanted to express empathy and make it comfortable to share a wider range of emotions.”

Facebook also says that Reactions will better help the site curate content that interests you. “Initially, just as we do when someone likes a post, if someone uses a Reaction, we will infer they want to see more of that type of post,” writes Facebook Product Manager Sammi Krug. “Over time we hope to learn how the different Reactions should be weighted differently by News Feed to do a better job of showing everyone the stories they most want to see.”

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If you don’t want to use the new Reactions, you don’t have to. You can be an old curmudgeon and stick with the standard Like. However, on the desktop, hovering over the Like button will now present a slick popup that display the new expanded Reactions lineup. You will still be able to see how many Likes a post has in addition to the most popular Reactions for a given post. For mobile users, you simply have to hold down the Like button, after which a popup menu provides access to Reactions.

Tell us what you think, HotHardware/Facebook users. Do you approve of Facebook’s introduction of Reactions?