There’s a devastating earthquake in Nepal, and invariably a few overeager clickers give it the ol’ thumbs-up.Changing the button is like Coca-Cola messing with its secret recipe.
“All of the other attempts had failed.” The obvious alternative, a “dislike” button, had been rejected on the grounds that it would sow too much negativity. Later that week, Cox brought up the project with his boss and longtime friend.
Cox told the Four Seasons gathering that the time was finally right for a change, now that Facebook had successfully transitioned a majority of its business to smartphones. Mark Zuckerberg’s response showed just how much leeway Cox has to take risks with Facebook’s most important service.
“He said something like, ‘Yes, do it.’ He was fully supportive,” Cox says. “That’s a hard one.” The solution would eventually be named Reactions. And it will expand the range of Facebook-compatible human emotions from one to six.
The most drastic change to Facebook in years was born a year ago during an off-site at the Four Seasons Silicon Valley, a 10-minute drive from headquarters.
Chris Cox, the social network’s chief product officer, led the discussion, asking each of the six executives around the conference room to list the top three projects they were most eager to tackle in 2015.
When it was Cox’s turn, he dropped a bomb: They needed to do something about the “like” button.
The like button is the engine of Facebook and its most recognized symbol.
A giant version of it adorns the entrance to the company’s campus in Menlo Park, Calif.
Facebook’s 1.6 billion users click on it more than 6 billion times a day—more frequently than people conduct searches on Google—which affects billions of advertising dollars each quarter.