Facebook trialling new batch of reactions in Messenger

6 Mar 2017

Facebook Messenger. Image: Jakraphong Photography/Shutterstock

Facebook is testing out a reactions feature in Messenger, allowing users to add emoji responses beside text.

Facebook’s 2015 release of a reactions tool in its news feed has proved popular among its 1.8bn monthly active users; so much so, that the company is looking to adapt the idea and spread it across other features.

At the moment, a selection of users have been trialling a similar function on Messenger, whereby a range of emojis can be added to the end of other users’ text – the modern response to suggestions.

According to the company, 300bn reactions have been sent in its news feed function, thus it feels the need to sate the emoji-driven appetite of its user base.

Interestingly, though, this current trial included a reaction that Facebook has previously fought against: a ‘thumbs down’.

The thinking at Facebook appears to be that a ‘dislike’ function breeds negativity – instead, for this project, the company considers the thumbs down to be more of a ‘no’ option to a direct question.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook thinks people often use Messenger for planning and coordination, so reactions such as this can serve a genuine function. If people are going camping, for example, and one suggests a location, a thumbs down emoji can work as a simple ‘no’.

“We’re always testing ways to make Messenger more fun and engaging. This is a small test where we enable people to share an emoji that best represents their feelings on a message,” said Facebook.

Last month, it emerged that Facebook was tweaking its news feed, too, by introducing ads in the middle of ‘on-demand’ videos, in a bid to increase revenues for publishers using the platform.

If the ads are longer than 20 seconds, and ad breaks are more than two minutes apart, publishers will benefit from a new format that will see them receive 55pc of the ad revenue. Facebook will pocket the other 45pc.

US accounts with more than 2,000 followers that have reached 300 or more concurrent viewers for recent live videos are eligible.

The 55pc-45pc split is a clear incentivising scheme by Facebook, encouraging more and more video content on its platform. This is a notable challenge to the likes of Snapchat, which also targets video content creators.

Facebook Messenger. Image: Jakraphong Photography/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic