Using Facebook Reactions Correctly

Express the right emotion toward a friend's post


Iain Masterton / Getty Images

In early 2016, Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook Newsroom announced the global rollout of Facebook Reactions to all users, which allow users to react to friends' (and Pages') posts with illustrated emoticons. They're available to use on both the desktop web and Facebook's official mobile apps.

Going Beyond the Like Button

Reactions come in the form of an expansive set of new buttons, built into the iconic Facebook Like button. They're supposed to help users express their emotions in a more appropriate manner when interacting with friends on the platform. This is a solution that Facebook came up with as an answer to the community's persistent requests for a dislike button.

Familiarize Yourself With Facebook's New Reaction Buttons

Facebook Reactions
Screenshot of Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook Reactions video

After a lot of research and testing, Facebook decided to drill down the new reactions buttons to just six. They include:

Like: The beloved Like button is still available to use on Facebook, despite getting a bit of a makeover. In fact, the original Like button placement is still located in the same place on all posts, so you can use it the same way you did even before reactions were introduced.

Love: When you really like something a lot, why not love it? According to Zuckerberg, the Love reaction was the most used reaction when the additional set of buttons were introduced.

Haha: People share a lot of funny stuff on social media, and now with a dedicated reaction for laughter on Facebook, you won't have to resort to adding a string of crying/laughing face emoji in the comments.

Wow: Any time that we're shocked and surprised about something, we want to make sure our friends would feel just as shocked and surprised too, so we share it on social media. When you don't quite know what to say about a post, just use the "wow" reaction.

Sad: When it comes to Facebook posting, users share both the good and the bad in their lives. You'll be able to make good use of the sad reaction any time a post triggers your compassionate side.

Angry: People can't help but share controversial stories, situations and events on social media. Now you can express your dislike for posts that fit this category by using the angry reaction.

Ready to find out how to start using Facebook reactions? It's extremely easy, but we'll walk you through it to show you how it's done.

On the Web: Hover Your Cursor Over the Like Button on Any Post

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Here are the exact steps to using Facebook Reactions on the desktop web.

  1. Pick out a post that you want to "react" to.
  2. The original Like button can still be found at the bottom of ever post, and to activate reactions, all you need to do is hover your mouse over it (without clicking on it). A small popup box of reactions will appear right above it.
  3. Click on any one of the six reactions to react to it.

It's as simple as that. Alternatively, you can keep it old school by simply clicking the original Like button without hovering over it to activate the reactions, and it will count as a regular like.

Once you've clicked a reaction, it will show up as a mini icon and colored link on the post right where the Like button used to be. You can always change your reaction by hovering over it again to select a different one.

To undo your reaction, simply click on the mini icon/colored link. It will revert back to the original (unclicked) Like button.

On Mobile: Hold Down the Like Button on Any Post

Facebook Reactions
Screenshots of Facebook for iOS

If you thought using Facebook reactions was fun on the regular web, wait until you check them out on the Facebook mobile app! Here's how to use them on mobile.

  1. Open up the Facebook mobile app on your device and pick a post that you want to "react" to.
  2. Look for the original Like button under the post and long press (press down and hold without lifting) to trigger the reactions to pop up.
  3. As soon as you see the popup box with the reactions, you can lift your finger—the reactions will stay on your screen. Tap the reaction of your choice.

Easy, right? What's particularly neat about the reactions on the mobile app is that they're animated, making them even more fun and appealing to use.

Just like you can your reaction on the desktop web, you can hold down the Like button/your reaction to pull up the list of reactions again and choose a different one. It's never set in stone.

You can undo your reaction by tapping the mini reaction icon/colored link that appears in the bottom left of the post.

Click or Tap the Reaction Count to See a Complete Breakdown

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When likes were the only thing that existed on Facebook posts (besides comments and shares), it was easy enough to get a glimpse of the Like button count to see how many people ever liked it. With six different reactions that people can use on posts, you have to go one step further to see how many people are counted for one specific reaction.

Every post shows a collection of colorful reaction icons directly above the Like button with a collective reaction count. So if 1,500 users clicked like/love/haha/wow/sad/angry on a particular post, the post will simply display an overall 1.5K count to represent all of them.

To see a breakdown of the counts for each separate reaction, however, you have to click or tap the overall count to see the breakdown. A popup box will appear with the counts for each reaction at the top and a list of participating users below them.

You can select any reaction count to see the list of users who contributed to that reaction count. Each user's profile photo will also show a small reaction icon in the bottom right corner.