Facebook today rolls out Reactions, emoticons that let shoppers go beyond clicking Like.

Facebook Inc. is letting consumers go beyond clicking a Like button by rolling out Reactions, which are emoticons that let them convey “like,” “love,” “haha,” “wow,” “sad” or “angry.”

Emoticons lets users better express reaction to content—be it a retailer’s video ad, a news article or a friend’s photo, Facebook says. It began testing them in October.

“We’ve been listening to people and know that there should be more ways to easily and quickly express how something you see in news feed makes you feel,” writes Sammi Krug, Facebook product manager, in a blog post. “That’s why today we are launching reactions, an extension of the Like button, to give you more ways to share your reaction to a post in a quick and easy way.”

While Reactions could help retailers get a better understanding of how users respond to their posts or ads, it is more likely that consumers will use reactions to respond to news articles, says Sucharita Mulpuru, Forrester Research Inc. vice president, principal analyst. “It gives more nuance to things like an earthquake or a political uprising where a ‘like’ is inappropriate,” she says. 

However, the emoticons could lead more consumers to voice their frustration with retailers, Susan Etlinger, an analyst at Altimeter Group, said in October when Facebook announced its initial test.


“If you make it easier for people to express negative emotions, will they express more negative emotions? Probably,” she said. The number of consumers who turn to the platform to vent about customer service issues likely will rise.

By giving consumers more ways to express their emotions, Facebook is introducing nuance to its platform. That nuance from Reactions will bring more data, which will force retailers and other businesses to find ways to understand it.

“Retailers have to examine the signals that shoppers are giving them,” Etlinger said.