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Facebook is testing emoji reactions and dislikes inside Messenger

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When words just aren't enough - or you just don't have enough time to tap them out - emojis can come to the rescue, and Facebook is reportedly testing out a feature that lets you reply to messages with smiles, sad faces, and even a thumbs down icon.

After a reader tip, Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch (opens in new tab) that emoji reactions are indeed being trialled. Most of the reactions are the same as the ones you'll know from your News Feed, except for that thumbs down, "dislike" button, which Facebook says is more of a "no" response to something that's been said.

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

Testing, testing, 1-2-3

As with any experiment on the social network (opens in new tab), this won't appear for everyone until Facebook is sure it works and has got enough positive feedback from testers. It would however make conversations that bit easier to follow, because reactions can be pinned to individual messages inside a thread.

If that sounds familiar it's because there's a pretty much identical feature available in business messaging tool Slack (opens in new tab). Whenever Facebook runs out of ideas of its own it's never afraid to borrow a few from its competitors.

Facebook officially introduced reactions (opens in new tab) to the News Feed near the end of 2015 to add more variety to the Like button, and it makes sense to have them inside Messenger too, together with instant responses for yes and no. Keep your eyes on the apps on your own phone for a wider roll-out.

David Nield
David Nield

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.