Facebook’s reactions just turned one and the company is finally revealing how its revamped like button impacts your News Feed.
It turns out the company weighs reactions love, haha, wow, sad and angry over “likes” in determining what content to surface in your News Feed.
“Over the past year we’ve found that if people leave a Reaction on a post, it is an even stronger signal that they’d want to see that type of post than if they left a Like on the post,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “So we are updating News Feed to weigh reactions a little more than Likes when taking into account how relevant the story is to each person.”
In other words: While “liking” a post signals to Facebook that its something you’re interested in and want to see more of, responding with any other sentiment even a “negative” one like angry sends an even stronger signal.
Facebook notes that currently all reactions are weighted the same, so News Feed’s algorithms won’t be influenced based on whether you react with “love” or “sad” or “angry.”
Currently all reactions are weighted the same, so the algorithm won’t be influenced by a “love” over an “angry.”
While it’s not surprising that Facebook would adjust News Feed to account for reactions after all, responding with a reaction takes an extra step than just tapping “like” it’s interesting that all reactions are treated equally. At least for now. Facebook says that “love” is far and away the most popular of all reactions, accounting for more than half of all reactions shared on the service.
The update also raises the question of whether data about reactions could be used for advertising or other purposes outside of News Feed. (Facebook tells its advertisers that all reactions are weighted the same as a “like.”) Some privacy advocates have expressed concern that the feature could be used to gather data on users.
One artist even went so far as to create a dedicated Chrome extension that randomly selects a reaction each time you hit the “like” button in order to hide your true feelings from Facebook.
Regardless of how you feel about Facebook’s reactions, though, the update serves as a good reminder that just about every action you take on the social network influences your News Feed in some way.
And the best way to signal to Facebook that you don’t like something is to simply ignore it (don’t forget you can tweak your News Feed settings, too.)