Facebook to update 'like' button with emoji 'Reactions' in a few weeks
Facebook's hallmark 'like' button is to be extended with a 'Reactions' product that will allow users to respond to posts via emojis.
Though fans of the thumbs up icon need not despair – the social network has promised that the new feature is intended to build upon the symbol, not replace it.
Speaking to Bloomberg, the platform's chief product officer Chris Cox said that a streamlined design will see a suite of animated icons appear when users press down on the like button.
With options ranging from a bright pink love heart to a tearful petted lip emoticon, Reactions will free users from the constraints of the like button (which can seem insensitive when applied to certain posts) and give them the opportunity to express a host of emotions.
Back in March, the rumour mill spun into overdrive about at the possibility of a 'dislike' button after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said that the site wanted to give users the option to express feelings other than "liking".
The new feature is a natural extension of the popular emoji add ons Facebook already offers within its messaging app, so its likely to go down well with users. The clickable responses will also provide Facebook's developers with more data, which can be used to tailor content to users; something with marketers will find useful.
To create the new emojis, Facebook's product team asked an outside panel of around 1000 users to rate every story in their feed and offer feedback, and consulted with a range of sociologists about the "range of human emotion".
Reactions has been tested in Spain, Ireland and Chile among other countries and will roll out globally in "the next few weeks".