Facebook has rolled out its new Reactions buttons — but they might end up working the opposite of how people might expect.
The site added five new buttons that allow people to say whether they feel “love”, “haha”, “sad or “angry” about a post.
But the site has said that it will treat each of those buttons the same, when it comes to showing users ads and posts in their News Feed. That means that clicking to say you are angry or sad about a post will count as engaging with it, which will in turn feed into Facebook’s algorithms to mean that it is more likely to be shown to others.
Users might expect that expressing anger or sadness about a certain thing would mean that they don’t want to see it. But it actually means there’s more chance of it showing up again, since posts with high engagement are privileged by Facebook’s algorithm.
The site said that it would look to fine-tune the ways that Reacting to posts worked within users news feed at some point in the future.
Engagement decides which ads and posts from friends appear in news feeds.
Advertisers won’t be able to target their ads according to how people have used the Reactions, either. Marketers have expressed annoyance that they wouldn’t be able to target Hillary Clinton ads to people who have reacted angrily to Donald Trump posts, for instance, though that might come in the future.
Within News Feeds, Facebook doesn't show whether a post is making people feel a particular way. The Like count has been replaced by a count of the total number of reactions of any kind, and the post will show the top three Reactions that are being posted in response to an update.
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