To like or not to like is probably a silly question: Facebook finally yields to consumers and adds cutified sentiments

To like or not to like is probably a silly question: Facebook finally yields to consumers and adds cutified sentiments

‘Like’ was never enough for Facebook Inc. users, considering many feeds consist of news reports detailing things such as massacres and missing Malaysian planes, not to mention the break-up of a school friend you haven’t seen or cared about for 20 years. Billions of Facebook users had a frisson of hope last year when it was reported, wrongly, that a ‘dislike’ option was going to make its way on our Facebook pages.

That was untrue, and in fact what Facebook was planning on was something closer to an empathy or sympathy button. Concerning the somewhat serious but also tragi-comical need to add more sentiments, CEO Mark Zuckerberg, said. “But your friends and people want to be able to express that they understand and that they relate to you. So I do think it’s important to give people more options than just like as a quick way to emote and share what they are feeling on a post,” he furthered.

And so it has finally happened, according to a Bloomberg report, and within a few weeks Facebook will let us react with not just an emotional white, or black and white, but with some hints of grey, red, and a dash of pink. According to the report the new options will include: love, haha, wow, sad, and angry, to be rolled-out first in the U.S.  Yay was mulled over by Facebook executives, but was later dumped for not being universally understood, not even with a corresponding cute emoji.

The new choices take more effort than a mere click; on mobile for instance you won’t see the new sentiment buttons unless you hold down the ‘Like’ button until the new options appear, something which Facebook has called ‘reactions’. After the aforementioned reactions have popped-up, cutifed images of suitable emojis will make themselves available, each symbolic of a sentiment. The words “trivial” and “superficial” also popped-up during the Bloomberg interview and Facebook, and consumers might be right to feel ill-at-ease when an emoji with a red face undermines their stark, mad and sad reaction to, say, the still-born child of their favorite cousin, or an earthquake video featuring occupied  cars being swallowed by the uncompromising Earth.

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Photo credit: Ryan Hyde via Flickr

James Farrell

James Farrell is the former editor-in-chief of Chiang Mai CityNews, where he wrote and managed daily news, features, op-eds and blogs on a diverse range of topics. Prior to this, in the same city of Northern Thailand where he lives, he was the longstanding deputy editor of the monthly magazine Citylife. He has written on culture, politics, travel, tech, business, human rights, for local, national, and international news services and magazines. He has a keen interest in the role technology is playing in the transformation of society, culture and politics, especially in developing nations. This is reflected in his not-so-successful first novel.

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