Facebook has now made available five more choices than simply "liking" a post, picture or video on its pages.
Many of the social network's 1.5 billion users had been asking for more options for years. Facebook on Feb. 24 finally enabled the use of more choices, which it calls Reactions. These are "Love," "Haha," "Wow," "Sad" and "Angry," to sit alongside the old and limited standby "Like."
To use the new emojis, the user simply touches or clicks on "Like." The first time a user does this, a one-time bubble window appears to say that new choices for "Like" are now available. To select an emoji, the user clicks and hold, or touches and hold, the "Like" button, then moves to the right and clicks on the icon he or she wants to use.
Posts in Facebook's News Feed now also show a tally of the reactions of how many "Wows," "Loves" and "Sads" a post gets.
Facebook, which Forbes ranks as the world's 10th most valuable company with a $231 billion market cap, said in a blog post that it simply wanted to give users more authentic ways to quickly and easily respond to posts.
"We understand that this is a big change, and want to be thoughtful about rolling this out," Product Manager Sammi Krug wrote. "For more than a year, we have been conducting global research including focus groups and surveys to determine what types of reactions people would want to use most. We also looked at how people are already commenting on posts and the top stickers and emoticons as signals for the types of reactions people are already using to determine which reactions to offer.
"We have been testing Reactions in a few markets since last year, and have received positive feedback so far. Today, we're excited to offer it to everyone who uses Facebook around the world. We will continue learning and listening to feedback to make sure we have a set of reactions that will be useful for everyone."
Prior to Reactions, users were often put into the awkward position of resorting to "liking" a post about a death or one that expressed frustration or disappointment, without distinction from how one would "like" an engagement photo. Reactions should solve this problem.
These new Reactions are about increasing user engagement, which is Facebook's lifeblood. About 1.6 billion people visited the social network at least once a month in the fourth quarter, up from 1.55 billion people in the third quarter. Some 1.04 billion users visit Facebook daily.