Marketers, Steel Yourself: Facebook Expands 'Reactions' Beyond 'Likes' Globally

Starting Today, People Can Respond To Posts With Emoji Icons

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Love it or hate it, Facebook is releasing its "Reactions" globally today.

The reactions -- emoji dubbed "love," "haha," "wow," "sad" and "angry" -- were first introduced by the company in Ireland and Spain to complement its monolithic "like" button back in October. That means marketers face the prospect of consumers enthusiastically loving what they post, but also crying or raging over it.

The new buttons will work essentially the same way as the like button. To access them, a person needs to hover over or hold down "like" and then move their finger or mouse over the reaction they want to use. Counts for each reaction type will be shown toward the bottom of a post, next to where the like count has long appeared.

"Reactions gives businesses a really crisp way of understanding on a multi-dimensional level how people are feeling about the things that they're posting," Richard Sim, Facebook's director of monetization product marketing, previously told Ad Age.

The different reactions will now give Facebook – and brands – more comprehensive data of how people perceive any particular post," Sammi Krug, product manager at Facebook, wrote in a post Wednesday. "If someone uses a Reaction, we will infer they want to see more of that type of post. In the beginning, it won't matter if someone likes, 'wows' or 'sads' a post — we will initially use any Reaction similar to a Like to infer that you want to see more of that type of content. 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."

Contributing: Tim Peterson

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