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Facebook launches reaction buttons beyond like

Like it or not, Facebook Inc’s trademark “like” button is set to get more expressive.

Users will soon be able to do more than “like” posts. They will be able to love them and express sympathy, anger or sadness with animated emoticons.

The social network said on Thursday it is launching a pilot test of “Reactions,” with users able select from seven emotions, including like and “wow.”

“Dislike,” however, is not one of the options.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post Thursday that users have been requesting ways other than like to respond to posts, such as when someone posts about the death of a loved one or a tragic news story.

“Not every moment is a good moment, and sometimes you just want a way to express empathy,” wrote Zuckerberg, who said last month the company was working on expanding the like button. “A like might not be the best way to express yourself.”

In a video accompanying a Facebook post by Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, the six new buttons appear as animated emoticons and pop up when the “like” button is long-pressed.

The company said it would pilot the new features in Ireland and Spain on iOS, Android and desktops. The feedback from the pilot test will be used to improve the feature. The company hopes “to roll it out to everyone soon,” Cox wrote in the post, which was “liked” by more than 7,500 people within two hours.

“As you can see, it’s not a ‘dislike’ button, though we hope it addresses the spirit of this request more broadly,” Cox wrote in his post.

Meet the new Reactions.

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, October 8, 2015

Zuckerberg’s comments last month, which many users took to mean the social network was working on a “dislike” button, spearheaded a debate over whether it would cause cyberbullying and negativity on the site.

But users mostly welcomed Cox’s announcement, saying on social media it was a smart idea.

Facebook user Marc Marasco posted on Cox’s Facebook page: “Elegant solution.”

Today we’re launching a test of Reactions — a more expressive Like button. The Like button has been a part of Facebook for a long time. Billions of Likes are made every day, and Liking things is a simple way to express yourself.For many years though, people have asked us to add a “dislike” button. Not every moment is a good moment, and sometimes you just want a way to express empathy. These are important moments where you need the power to share more than ever, and a Like might not be the best way to express yourself.At a recent Townhall Q&A, I shared with our community that we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the best way to give you better options for expressing yourself, while keeping the experience simple and respectful. Today we’re starting to test this.Reactions gives you new ways to express love, awe, humor and sadness. It’s not a dislike button, but it does give you the power to easily express sorrow and empathy — in addition to delight and warmth. You’ll be able to express these reactions by long pressing or hovering over the Like button. We’re starting to test Reactions in Ireland and Spain and will learn from this before we bring the experience to everyone. We hope you like this – or can better express how you’re feeling!

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, October 8, 2015

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