Facebook appears to have ditched the idea of a straight “dislike” button to go alongside the traditional like. Instead it is testing a choice of six emoji to cover a wider range of emotions.
The original plan for adding a dislike button was intended to cover situations where users might want a one-click way of acknowledging a status update when a “Like” would be inappropriate, such as in grief. It seems the idea is only to apply this to status updates, rather than with pages, where a “Like” is effectively a subscription tool.
Exactly why Facebook abandoned “dislike” isn’t clear: it’s possible that it simply seemed too negative, or it may be that reducing responses to a binary like or dislike was too simplistic.
Instead users in Ireland and Spain will be the first to test the range of six responses, covering like, love, haha, yay, wow, sad and angry. The status update will then show the appropriate icons with the current number of clicks in the place which currently informs you that “x people like this.”
According to Wired, the testing is being done in Ireland and Spain as users there are among the least likely to have many Facebook friends outside their own country.
It appears the test is more about the specific selection of emoji rather than the principle of the change itself as Facebook plans to roll it out worldwide “soon.”
Whether the idea takes off remains to be seen: the idea of clicking a sad-face smiley with a teardrop to acknowledge a friend announcing a bereavement still seems a little glib. Still, it will at least create the challenge of crafting a status update that organically provokes all six responses among your friends.