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THE EMOTIONAL NETWORK

Facebook is supplementing the “like” button with six emoji reactions

By Mike Murphy

You know what’s cooler than a single emoji to express emotion? Seven emoji to express emotion.

That’s right: Facebook is reportedly testing out adding six emoji options (💖,😆,😊,😮,😥, and 😡) to the ubiquitous thumbs-up “like” button.

In September, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company was looking into alternatives to the Like button. Many interpreted that as a plan for a “dislike” button, but according to Engadget ES, Facebook is testing out a range of emoji options that run the emotional gamut.

Facebook is currently only planing to test out the emoji in Ireland and Spain—relatively small markets, including one that is non-English speaking. Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s director of product, told TechCrunch that Spanish and Irish users have relatively few international friends, so “they work better as closed test groups.”

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Facebook’s move is another reflection of the fact that its users are increasingly using smartphones; in June, the company reported it had over 840 million users accessing the site daily on mobile. It’s hard to type out an impassioned response to something your second cousin just posted on Facebook on a smartphone keyboard, but it’s pretty easy to press the 😡 button, if that’s how you feel. You can explain it to him in person it later.

To access the emoji, users will click on the Like button, and the six potential reactions will pop up. Users can still give the regular thumbs up if they so choose, but can also choose an emotion that better reflects how they’re feeling. Users can now choose to love, laugh, smile, or be shocked, sad, or angry about what their friends have posted. It’s like “Inside Out” has come to your newsfeed.

Facebook isn’t the first social network to incorporate emoji reactions. As TechCrunch points out, the website BuzzFeed and the social network Path both let users respond to posts with a series of reactions. The messaging software Slack also recently added a function for users to add an emoji reaction to messages (the list of possible reactions is much, much larger, so if your boss Slacks you about TPS reports and you’re really feeling 💯 about it, you can say so).

Facebook has yet to announce plans to roll emoji out to a wider Facebook audience, or to other products like Messenger or Instagram. And there’s no word how liking would work for brands and businesses, either—will I someday be able to 😡 a brand?

Facebook wasn’t immediately available to comment. That makes me 😥.