We have heard the rumors before, that Facebook was going to put up an “Unlike” button. But the thought of this truly happening seemed ludicrous as you can imagine how that would end up. Facebook is already so straight laced and fearful of hurting people’s feelings that they restrict companies who sell products that insinuate something is wrong with someone and how to fix it – like weight loss products or telling someone they might look old. So, having an “Unlike” button, just doesn’t seem like Facebook’s style.
Matter of fact, Mark Zuckerburg made this statement about an “unlike’ button – “Everyone feels like they can just push the Like button, and that’s an important way to sympathize or empathize with someone,” he said during a Q&A in 2014. “We need to figure out the right way to do it so it ends up being a force for good, not a force for bad.”
So what type of buttons will Facebook be rolling out? The button is actually a series of emoticons that you can choose from. Facebook apparently worked with sociologists to carefully choose images that represent the emotions Facebook finds appropriate and not too negative.
With these new emoticons, one doesn’t have to “Like” a post that might state someone’s pet died or parent is ill. Instead, a user can now add an emotional reaction. What emotions are you allowed to express through symbols? Here is the list.
Okay, so angry is in there – but that is an appropriate feeling that doesn’t necessarily add negativity to the Facebook feed as much as a big ole Dislike button would.
The bottom line is that Facebook wants people to interact with other people’s posts in a genuine way and in truth, these emotions will be carefully cataloged with your name to complete a demographic about how you feel about particular topics. This is an advertising and marketing issue. If I am angry about a comment made by a Republican candidate, Facebook’s algorithm will quickly assess I am not a supporter of that candidate and I shouldn’t be on the targeted marketing list for that candidates paid advertising.
Emotions have been a part of algorithms for a number of third party software companies repertoire for some time as they scan Twitter and Facebook to determine your sentiment. Such information would allow a company to assess if the sentiment for their brand was positive or negative. The software would also help you assess that person’s predilections so you could decide if you wanted to pursue them as a potential client.
Facebook moving in this same direction isn’t a surprise. People love their emoticons so having extra emotions to express beyond the Like button – should keep things interesting.