Facebook tests new buttons in Ireland and Spain

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WHEN Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that the company was close to testing a new button which would counter the ‘Like’ button, it was naturally assumed that this would be a single ‘Dislike’ button allowing users to express their condolences for sad posts but this is not the case.

On October 8, Facebook rolled out not one but six emojis (a Japanese word for cartoon faces which express emotions) for trial in Ireland and Spain which have been christened ‘Reactions.’ There’s a throbbing heart for ‘Love,’ an angry face for ‘Angry,’ a crying ‘Sad,’ a laughing ‘Haha,’ a surprised ‘Wow’ and an eyes-closed smile for ‘Yay.’

“We studied which comments and reactions are most commonly and universally expressed across Facebook, then worked to design an experience around them that was elegant and fun,” Facebook product manager Chris Cox said in an announcement the day earlier.

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“As you can see, it’s not a ‘dislike’ button, though we hope it addresses the spirit of this request more broadly,” he added.

Facebook says it will use tests of the Reactions feature in Ireland and Spain to improve the options, and hopefully expand these or similar icons across its entire empire. No doubt they will also be able to analyse the reaction of users to give advertisers a more focused idea of consumer likes and dislikes.

In a separate statement, it was revealed that Facebook is working with French satellite company, Eutelsat, to launch a satellite that will provide free Internet access to people in sub-Saharan Africa. The satellite will launch next year and service will start in the second half of 2016, initially targeting 14 countries in West, East and Southern Africa.

“Facebook’s mission is to connect the world and we believe that satellites will play an important role in addressing the significant barriers that exist in connecting the people of Africa,” said Chris Daniels, VP of Internet.org, a part of Facebook in a statement.

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