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‘Wow’: Facebook launches ‘Reactions’ worldwide

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Facebook users around the globe can now do more than “like” a post. They can love it, laugh at it or feel angered by it.

The social network rolled out “Reactions” – an extension of the “Like” button – worldwide on Wednesday, to allow users to express sadness, wow, anger, love and laughter.

In a video accompanying a blog post, the five new buttons appear as animated emoticons that pop up when the “Like” button is held down on mobile devices. The buttons appear on desktops when users hover over the “Like” button.

Facebook launched a pilot of “Reactions” – which allowed users to select from seven emotions including “Angry”, “Sad”, “Wow” and “Like” – in Ireland and Spain in October.

The “Yay” emoticon, which was present in the pilot launch (http://on.fb.me/1LBnXIG), was not seen in Wednesday’s video (bit.ly/24oZ6yi).

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“People wanted to express empathy and make it comfortable to share a wider range of emotions,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in September the company was thinking of adding a “dislike” button, which spearheaded a debate over whether it would increase cyber bullying and negativity on the site. In October, the company said it would expand its signature “Like” button with various reactions.

The slow test and rollout of the expanded button – which Zuckerberg has said is the company’s biggest design change to date – is a marked change from Zuckerberg’s famous mantra, “move fast and break things.”

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The company said it will also use “Reactions” to track user behavior and for ad delivery.

“We will initially use any Reaction similar to a Like to infer that you want to see more of that type of content,” Facebook said in a separate blog post.(http://bit.ly/1TFzfOC)

The feature received mixed reviews from users on social networking sites.

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Many complained that they could not see the new emoticons, while some were unhappy that Facebook did not launch a “dislike” button.

Marina Cupo wrote on Facebook: “I would rather have had a DISLIKE button and then attach an emotion instead if I want!”

Users have often responded negatively to similar changes on other sites. Twitter, for example, replaced its star-shaped “favorite” icon with a heart-shaped icon called “like” in November. Users initially scorned the change, but Twitter later said it increased activity on the site.

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(Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru and Yasmeen Abutaleb in Washington; Editing by Robin Paxton, Ted Kerr and Phil Berlowitz)


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Amazon workers strike as ‘Prime’ shopping frenzy hits

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Amazon workers walked out of a main distribution center in Minnesota on Monday, protesting for improved working conditions during the e-commerce titan's major "Prime" shopping event.

Amazon workers picketed outside the facility, briefly delaying a few trucks and waving signs with messages along the lines of "We're human, not robots."

"We know Prime Day is a big day for Amazon, so we hope this strike will help executives understand how serious we are about wanting real change that will uplift the workers in Amazon's warehouses," striker Safiyo Mohamed said in a release.

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Iran’s top diplomat warns US is ‘playing with fire’

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned Monday that the United States is "playing with fire," echoing remarks by President Donald Trump as the two sides are locked in a standoff over Tehran's nuclear program.

The United States quit an international deal aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear program last year, hitting Tehran with crippling sanctions.

Tensions have since soared, with the US calling off air strikes against Iran at the last minute after Tehran downed an American drone, and Washington blaming the Islamic republic for a series of attacks on tanker ships.

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At 82, NASA pioneer Sue Finley still reaching for the stars

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Sue Finley began work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as the US prepared to launch its first satellite into orbit in 1958, racing to match the Soviet Union, which had accomplished the feat months earlier.

Now 82, she is one of NASA's longest-serving women, starting out as one of its "human computers," whose critical yet long-hidden contributions to the space program, including the Apollo missions to the Moon, are finally being recognized.

Finley had dropped out of college and joined a group of mathematically gifted individuals, overwhelmingly women, whose job it was to solve the complex equations thrown at them by rocket scientists before electronic computing became affordable and reliable.

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