“They really need a dislike button on this thing” you said. Over and over again, for years, the people called out for a dislike button. “Let me show these people I hate what they love without actually having to say anything!”. One year ago, these people finally got their wish.
Well… Sort of.
The introduction of Facebook reactions was greeted with an equal amount excitement and confusion amongst seasoned users. After all, we only wanted a dislike button. Why bring so much emotion into it? A week or three later and we were reacting for fun, just because we could.
A year on and people still don’t entirely understand what reacting to a post means for the long-term health of their feed. Thankfully, Facebook have moved to explain in a little more detail (emphasis on “a little”): “Over the past year we’ve found that if people leave a Reaction on a post, it is an even stronger signal that they’d want to see that type of post than if they left a Like on the post,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “So we are updating News Feed to weigh reactions a little more than Likes when taking into account how relevant the story is to each person.”
Essentially this means that you’re gonna see a lot more of those things that make you ‘angry’ or ‘sad’, as well as those things that you ‘love’ or make you feel all ‘wow’. If something does genuinely make you angry or upset, you might want to avoid letting Facebook know that or you will surely be seeing a lot more of it in the near future. The good news is that ‘love’ is by far the most popular reaction, so you can only assume that people are generally enjoying themselves for now.
Although all reactions other than the standard ‘Like’ are weighted equally in influencing your feed for the moment, it looks sure to change. Whether or not Facebook will keep wanting to make us sad and angry, only they know…