Facebook to test new Reactions feature in Ireland: Yay!

Your status updates can finally get the reactions they deserve

Not content with simply liking a status? Facebook is branching out and testing some new ways to react on its social network.

Never again will you be forced to choose between reacting to someone’s tale of woe with an inappropriate “like” or ignoring it altogether.

With Facebook Reactions, users will be able to add reactions such as "love", "haha" and "yay" to items that appear on Facebook, while angry faces, sad emoticons and "wow" will also be at your fingertips. Irish users will get it first, with the new features being tested here and Spain before being made available to a wider audience.

Each of the reactions are accompanied by a face or symbol that Facebook considers internationally recognisable.


The new options will be available on both mobile and web interfaces.

Facebook may be trying to appeal to a younger audience with the expanded range of emotions, but product manager Chris Tosswill said he expected the new feature to be embraced by Facebook users across the board.

Reactions has already undergone some testing internally before being unleashed on the Irish and Spanish Facebook subscribers, and Mr Tosswill said it has been in development for some time. How it’s received in those markets will shape the end product before the wider Facebook population gets access to it.

"It's exciting that Ireland's Facebook community will be one of the first to participate in testing these new ways to express reactions," said Gareth Lambe, Head of Facebook Ireland. "With over two million Irish people actively logging onto Facebook every day, they'll now have more ways to show how they feel – whether that's happy, sad, funny or thought-provoking."

Mr Tosswill said it was the type of networks created in both countries that made them a suitable testbed for the new product. In Ireland’s case, it was the strong internal network- we’re all friends with each other - that made it a good place to test Reactions.

“We think it’s a solid product that people are going to enjoy,” Mr Tosswill said. “We think it’s better than a dislike button; it conveys a broader range of emotions.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist