Dislike: Why Facebook's New Reaction Buttons Are Terrible

by Stephanie Maida · February 24, 2016

    We awoke this morning to a whole new world. Upon our in-bed scroll through the latest on our newsfeeds, we were met with a sudden, uncomfortable array of options when we simply wanted to 'like' something. A heart? A laugh? A single tear drop? What is this, we thought frantically. Why is this happening? 

    Sure, we knew it was on the horizon. Back in October, Facebook began testing these new reaction buttons on users in Spain and Ireland, and apparently those folks have a wide range of emotions. Millennials, however, do not, and therein lies our problem. 

    See, we came of age during the dawning of the Facebook era. We found our footing, we evolved on the social media landscape. We knew all the rules. We knew 'poking' should never be a serious romantic gesture. We knew not to accept friend requests from Nigerian princes. We knew how to navigate the albums of our ex-boyfriend's ex-girlfriend back to 2008 without liking a single picture. We might have been insecure when it came to figuring out how to pay taxes, but in the Facebook realm, we were kings. We knew the lay of the land better than anybody.

    With this new...toolbar, shall we call it?, comes a whole new set of Facebook etiquette rules. A simple and quick thumbs up of acknowledgement has now become an exercise in personal reflection. A Freudian session whenever we see a post we'd like to react to. "How does this make you FEEL?" we must now wonder in regards to our frenemy from junior high's engagement ring photo. Is it acceptable to put a little angry face there amid the hearts? Probably not, but then what is it there for? Can we put a sad face on every post our uncle shares in support of Donald Trump? Would he get the implied message: "Uncle Dave, I'm sad you're so stupid"? Probably not. Do videos of screaming goats move us to open-mouthed "Wow" status? This is something we've never had to think about before.

    What's to be even worse, of course, is the deciphering of the reactions that WE receive. If our crush 'hearts' our new profile picture rather than 'likes' it, does that mean we're getting married? If our friend puts a 'Haha' face on a group photo at a dinner we didn't invite her to, is that scathing sarcasm or is she genuinely laughing at us trying to wink and look cute? Is she laughing at our new bangs? Unfriend.

    All in all, when it comes down to it, the only reaction we need for this new Facebook update is DISLIKE, and ironically enough, that's something Zuckerberg still hasn't given us.