The social network just released a new feature that gives users more freedom to express themselves. 

By Brigitt Earley
Updated February 24, 2016


The death of a beloved pet, a rough day at the office, or a canceled vacation... all status updates that don't quite warrant a "like." But, until now, it was the only option available to Facebook users.

On Wednesday, the company will begin rolling out a variety of new options to all of its users. While they aren't quite the long-requested "dislike," the new functionality, dubbed "reactions," allows users to express a host of more appropriate emotions: "love," "haha," "wow," "sad," and "angry." Each reaction is accompanied by a matching emoticon (the thumbs up still accompanies a like). To access the new feature, desktop users simply hover over the like button. On mobile devices, you can access the new options by holding down the like button.

In a release, Facebook product manager Sammi Krug writes, "we understand that this is a big change, and want to be thoughtful about rolling this out. For more than a year we have been conducting global research including focus groups and surveys to determine what types of reactions people would want to use most."

So how will the new reactions change your news feed? For now, any reaction will simply expand the range of emotions you can use when interacting with a friend or brand's status update, and will work as a like does: It will indicate to Facebook that you'd like to see more of that type of content. "Over time we hope to learn how the different Reactions should be weighted differently by News Feed to do a better job of showing everyone the stories they most want to see," Krug said in a separate release.