Facebook unveils “reactions” to simplify not talking to friends

Facebook announced a revolutionary feature that will finally let people express feelings with the least amount of effort possible.

Reactions improve on “Likes”

This scenario should be familiar to all: Your friend posts a status about their loved one getting injured in a freak curling accident or about their cat’s premature demise at the hands of a misplaced cucumber. You can’t click “Like” on a status like that. What do you do? Today, Facebook offers literally no other option to deal with such situations.

“Sure, you can write a human response using any of the words in the English language,” says Mike Butterworth, Facebook’s human interactions engineer, “but that opens up for an almost limitless range of subsequent dialogue options, which—frankly—none of us have the time or energy for.”

That’s why Facebook is reportedly expanding its repertoire of possible responses with five new options, called “reactions.” These five reactions are Angry, Wow, Haha, Sad, and Love, which are widely understood to convey the full spectrum of human emotion. By holding down the “Like” button, people will be able to call up these reactions and craft a more personal response.

“Not emojis”

“Today, we find that people circumvent the obvious limitation of the ‘Like’ button by, for example, typing the word ‘dislike’ or using a thumbs down emoji,” says Christy May, button design specialist, “The thing is, each of those actions requires multiple clicks or keyboard presses.”

The new reactions can be shared with a single press, making them at least 300 percent more efficient. Another problem with the current emojis is that they’re easy to misinterpret. Your friend may send you a smiling emoji, but to you it will look like someone squinting very hard. This is obviously far from optimal.

To fix this common issue, the upcoming reactions will be animated. They’ll move and change expressions, communicating beyond the shadow of a doubt what their intended meaning is. Bill Bezeler, emoji architect, has this to say:

“I just want to stress that these new reactions are most definitely not emojis or stickers. Emojis and stickers are accessed through a special menu, while these reactions will be right there, at your fingertips. Totally different.”

More to come…

The new reactions are expected to become available in the coming weeks. They are a culmination of years of research and development and mark a significant milestone for Facebook and the wider world of social media.

“We’re really proud of what we have accomplished here!” says Tina Gray, customer enhancement technician, “But we’re not resting on our laurels, so to speak. We have a number of innovations planned that will make the process of nurturing your online relationships a lot easier by taking it out of your hands and moving it to the cloud.”

In pursuit of that goal, Facebook is working on an AI algorithm that will post status updates on your behalf by analyzing your past online behavior and predicting the most likely thing you’re about to share. A member of Gray’s team agrees to demo an early prototype. He logs in with his Facebook profile, and his test machine whirs into action, typing out a status update without any involvement on his part. The screen reads:

Tomorrow I’ve eaten lunch Lady Gaga dance pink handcuffs!

“It’s a work in progress,” he smiles sheepishly, unplugging his computer and pushing it casually off the table and onto the floor.

Facebook’s ambition is to one day eliminate the need for a comment field altogether, so that people can communicate exclusively through single button presses.

“Our motto here is ‘If an interaction takes more than a single click, it’s an interaction not worth having,'” says Tina Gray.

We aren’t quite sure how to respond to this, so we’ll give it a Wow and a Love.

12 thoughts on “Facebook unveils “reactions” to simplify not talking to friends

  1. It seems that Facebook is striving to reach a point at which we don’t have to think at all, but instead respond like a reflex with a button press. And who said that social media was responsible for dumbing down!


  2. Okay, I’ll try this again. But now, after our back-and-forth on Twitter of how my comments weren’t going through, this one will seem anti-climactic! But here was the original comment:

    “Facebook is working on an AI algorithm that will post status updates on your behalf”—Mark that as the day I leave Facebook. If I even make it that long over there. The site was definitely not designed for introverts.


  3. I’m interested in that thing where Facebook crafts my posts for me. Based on my previous posts, I believe they can just alternate between: 1. Hey everyone, I’m taking a break from the internet. Don’t know if or when I’ll be back. and 2. Hey everyone! I’m back! Wow! I sure missed you.
    I look forward to all the new reactions.

    Your section titled “MORE TO COME” had me doing a real double take. You never dropped voice or changed cadence. Took me a minute to realize you were being sarcastic. AWESOME stuff Daniel!
    I give this post a LIKE and a LOVE and a WEEPING TEARS not emoji symbol thingie.


    • Heheee that’d be a perfectly easy job for the algorithm, in your case. Imagine how both of us will feel when Facebook announces exactly those types of changes a few years from now?!


  4. Maybe WordPress can add “reactions” to the like button so that the trolls can express vitriol in just one click. Also, I could have let you know I loved this post without the exhaustion I’m currently experiencing by typing all these letters. Now I need a nap.


  5. omg… wtf… I HATE Facebook, it is worse than when I used to smoke cigarettes…. just like then, everyone is smoking, taking a smoke break, chatting having a beer… we were all addicted to the nicotine and comradeship, but our doctors told us we had to quit, we were killing ourselves. Then the government got involved and made it illegal to smoke in bars (our favorite place to smoke and drink). It won’t be long until there are no smokers left on the planet… BUT, to the rescue Facebook an addiction that is only killing your eyes and mind. The government will get involved soon and ruin it for everyone.


Leave a comment, get a reply. That's how I roll.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.