Facebook’s New Reactions

In the past few weeks, you might have noticed that Facebook rolled out new ways for you to react to your friends’ posts. You’re no longer limited to just “liking.” Now, among other things, you can express laughter, “wow,” sadness, and anger.

Fom the user’s perspective, is almost definitely a good thing. Deciding whether it’s polite to like a post about your friend’s dead pet fish was always tricky. You might think that providing a more nuanced way to react to your friends’ lives explains why Facebook implemented this feature, but that’s not the whole story.

Providing a satisfying user experience isn’t their only concern. The data you generate using their service is also a product that they market. As APM’s Marketplace pointed out a few months ago when Facebook was running early trials on the new reactions, these new reactions will deepen the wealth of data that they can market.

Knowing more about how that cat video made you feel, not just whether you bothered to press the “like” button, will help them better target advertisements (along with aiding their other revenue-generating schemes, I am sure).

Looking at Facebook’s new reactions from the end-user consumer’s point of view only tells half the story because we’re not the only consumers of Facebook’s services.

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