Facebook recently introduced “Reactions”, an extension of its Like button that allows you to respond to posts with either a Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, or Angry emoji.

This makes the whole experience of responding to a particular post much more expressive, simply because not every post is likeable. There are just some posts like the ones about the death of a loved one or ones about being sick that require a sad response rather than a like.

And for posts that either irritate you or for ones that you genuinely dislike, you can respond with the angry emoticon, as that’s the closest we will ever get to a dislike button on Facebook.

This means that posts on your news feed will have a greater variety of responses rather than just an x number of likes. Facebook aggregates the range of responses by presenting the emoticons in descending order of the number of times they were clicked. So, when you’re scrolling past posts on your news feed, you can instantly gauge if people are reacting positively or negatively to a post.

Image Credit: https://blog.bufferapp.com/facebook-reactions
Image Credit: https://blog.bufferapp.com/facebook-reactions

I feel that this new enhancement will ensure that people will engage with posts more than before, simply because they can. Everyone tends to have their own pet peeve when it comes to posts on social media; personally, I hate people that publicly mourn celebrity deaths or ones that write frequent, lengthy, emotional essays. Most of the time, I either ignore them or unfollow them if they become unbearable but now, I know that I can always fall back on the angry emoticon to let them know how I truly feel.

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Who’s The Most Hated Of Them All?

Social media is a tricky place to dwell at, it’s a world of make believe and it’s essentially an environment where people often live out the worst of themselves. And the ones that will always get to experience this fact to the fullest are the ones that are famous—celebrities, socialites, politicians, etc.

Take Prime Minister Najib Razak for example, most of his posts regardless of their content are often met with hostility, hatred and anger. I’m sure that many people in the past would have scrolled past his posts feeling disenchanted while refraining from commenting (unless they are really pissed and have the time to rant) but I’m quite sure that people would now take the take to express themselves, thanks to Facebook’s reactions.

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If you scroll through each post on his Facebook Page, you’d notice that the first emoticon always tends to be the one representing anger. This essentially sums up the way people perceive a particular post on Facebook, and in this case, it highlights people’s negative perception towards the Prime Minister.

In the past, you’d had to read numerous comments to decipher if people favour the topic of discussion or the owner of the post but now Facebook Reactions makes it incredibly easy to figure out what’s loved and what’s hated.  And in this case, it doesn’t take a genius on Facebook to figure out how disliked Najib is on social media.

In fact, the reactions of each recent Facebook post on his page is 80% made up of the angry emoticon. This is a stark contrast to the reactions on Facebook posts by Barack Obama, President of the United States, which are mostly positive (90% of total reactions on a post are likes).

While Facebook isn’t presently putting the data gathered from people’s use of reactions to use just yet, they will be doing so in the future, however. In the future, data gathered from people’s use of reactions would be used to show them stories that they most want to see.

In a blog post, Sammi Krug, Product Manager at Facebook wrote, “Initially, just as we do when someone likes a post, 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 some 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”.

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