Facebook has launched a trial of a new set of emoticons intended as an alternative to the previously debated dislike button.
Starting today, Facebook users in Spain and Ireland will be able to express a wider range of reactions to a friend’s post than a simple ‘like’ by scrolling over the thumbs-up button and choosing from seven options that include the expression of anger, sadness and love.
The actual ‘dislike’ or thumbs-down option that users have been calling for is not available.
“As you can see, it’s not a 'dislike' button, though we hope it addresses the spirit of this request more broadly,” said Facebook’s chief product officer Chris Cox in a post on Facebook.
“We studied which comments and reactions are most commonly and universally expressed across Facebook, then worked to design an experience around them that was elegant and fun.”
Called the Reactions, the functionality will be available on desktops, Android and iOS devices.
“We’ll use the feedback from this to improve the feature and hope to roll it out to everyone soon,” Cox added.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed the firm was working on an alternative to the Like button in September this year.
However, he said that he didn’t want the social network to turn into a forum for people to express negative feelings about other people's posts. Instead, he said he believed users want to be able to express a wider range of emotions.
“People aren't looking for an ability to down-vote other people's posts. What they really want is to be able to express empathy," he said.
"Your friends and people want to be able to express that they understand and that they relate to you, so I do think that it is important to give people more options than just 'Like' as a quick way to emote and share what they're feeling on a post."
The post about the launch of Reactions was shared almost 5,000 times and liked by more than 12,000 people with users generally appreciating the feature in their comments. However, some users said the feature didn't offer much more than adding ‘feeling excited’ or ‘feeling sad’ while posting comments.