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Why Facebook is about to drastically change its iconic Like button

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 9:11PM EST
Facebook Like Button Change

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The Like button has been Facebook’s most iconic feature since its inception. Over the years, many users have asked the company to institute a “dislike” button to show their disapproval of certain posts but the company has refused to budge… until now. Bloomberg has published the inside scoop on Facebook’s decision to drastically change the classic Like button and it gives us a nice preview of what’s to come on the world’s most popular social network.

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Facebook first started testing out its alternative to the current Like button this past fall and it is a system called Reactions that lets you express six different reactions to friends’ posts. Essentially, Facebook will soon unveil a full bar of emoji next to its iconic Like button that includes faces for laughing, happiness, surprise, sadness and anger, as well as an option to tell someone you “love” their post. Here is what it looked like in its early stages during testing last year:

Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox tells Bloomberg that switching up the Like button carries the same kind of risk that Coca-Cola took in the 1980s with its ill-fated decision to create New Coke.

“This was a feature that was right in the heart of the way you use Facebook, so it needed to be executed really well in order to not detract and clutter up the experience,” he tells Bloomberg. “All of the other attempts had failed.”

Interestingly, Facebook rejected adding a simple “Dislike” button like the one that’s available on YouTube because they were worried about it generating too much negativity. Given that the YouTube comments sections are generally a cesspool of nastiness, that’s not an unreasonable concern.

All the same, these new emoji will add a welcome range of new emotions that you can express on Facebook. To read more about what Facebook learned while testing out its new Reactions system last year, check out Bloomberg’s full report at this link.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.