Today, you can do more than "like" your friend's Facebook post.
Thanks to a list of new reactions that have already gone live, you can love someone's funny post or video. You also can give it a haha, wow, sad or angry reaction.
The days of a one-reaction option are over.
"Every day, people come to Facebook to discover what's happening in their world and around the world, and to share all kinds of things, whether that's updates that are happy, sad, funny or thought-provoking," wrote Sammi Krug, a product manager for Facebook, in a blog post. "We've been listening to people and know that there should be more ways to easily and quickly express how something you see in News Feed makes you feel."
While avoiding adding a "dislike" button, which executives thought would add too much negativity to the site, users now can hold down the like button when using the mobile app, or simply hover over the like button on the desktop, to see the expanded list of reactions in the form of colorful emojis.
Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, said during a town hall forum last September that they were working on the new reactions but wanted to do so carefully.
"It took us a while to get here because we didn't want to just build a dislike button because we don't want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people's posts," he said during the town hall. "That doesn't seem like the kind of community we want to create. You don't want to go through the process of sharing some kind of moment that was important to you in your day and then have someone down-vote it. That isn't what we're here to build in the world."
Changing Facebook's Like button is a big deal for the company.
Facebook has reported that users click on the Like button about 6 billion times a day. Users are accustomed to liking posts about friends having babies, going on great vacations, running a 5K or adopting a new dog.
Likes have become a means of communication in this age of social media.
Users pay attention to the likes they get on a post to gauge their friends' reactions. Companies pay attention to the likes to gauge customers' interest in a new campaign or a new product.
Krug noted in today's blog post that Facebook has been working for more than a year -- taking surveys and using focus groups -- to figure out exactly what reactions people want to use and what would be good for the site.
"We have been testing reactions in a few markets since last year, and have received positive feedback so far," he wrote. "Today, we're excited to offer it to everyone who uses Facebook around the world. We will continue learning and listening to feedback to make sure we have a set of reactions that will be useful for everyone."
And while users may have fun trying out new reactions to their friends' and relatives' Facebook posts, the company stands to get a much bigger payback from the effort. The social network also is helping itself to collect more data about its users and allowing advertisers to collect more detailed data about their products and customers.
"It's all about data -- and now Facebook can give advertisers five times the data," said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research. "For example, a retailer could put a promotion up and people could comment on a range, of things. They could like it, show that it makes them angry or show surprise with a wow. The key for Facebook is now they are getting a broader set of data and we live in a world now where big data is king."
Facebook could charge advertisers more because they're getting more detailed data or the company could sell advertisers its more granular data.
This story, "Move over, Like button: Meet Facebook’s new reaction emojis" was originally published by Computerworld.