We asked for it, and they responded– after more than a year of research, Facebook released a new update today that extends from the simple “like” button. The new reactions allows users to express their emotions by choosing between like, love, haha, wow, sad and angry emojis.
So, what does this mean for us?
Facebook has been used as a way to connect with your friends, family, and peers. With the new reaction buttons, users can easily communicate their emotions to posts made by their Facebook friends. In particular, when a user posts something more sentimental such as a death or an illness, people feel awkward “liking” this message. The new reactions allow users to still empathize with their Facebook friends, but by adding a more personal reply than just the standard “like.”
Shorthand is taking over the digital world. Instead of expressing grief through the power of the written word, people are now showing their emotions– or lack thereof– through an emoji. With the emergence of Facebook reactions, people fear that emotional expression will diminish as people will allow this small emoticon to speak for itself. We already know that social media has reduced the level of oral communication and human interaction immensely. But how will this new shorthand continue to affect information sharing on Facebook?
Cyberbullying has always been a recurring issue online. With the new Facebook reactions, people fear that it has become even easier for people to take part in cyberbullying– even if they are unaware that they are partaking in this harmful activity. Put simply, a user could respond to a post by placing an “angry” reaction, thus showing to the user that they have angry or negative feelings about the post. In return, this can stir up controversy and lead to cyberbullying.
Do you think the new Facebook reactions will make a positive impact? Or will it lead us to a dark path of increased cyberbullying and harsh sarcasm? Facebook is continually evolving, and there are more unexpected changes to come in the future. Let us know your thoughts on the new Facebook reactions!