When Facebook introduced reaction buttons in 2015 that let you respond to a post with a heart or a sad face instead of just a “like,” it was a huge improvement.
Now, Facebook is working on a puzzling reaction button for the coronavirus era: a Covid-19 themed button.
Researcher Jane Manchun Wong, who frequently uncovers social media features in development, first spotted the new feature. Facebook has confirmed to Mashable that it is indeed working on the button, but declined to provide further details about its purpose or timing.
The button at this point carries a similar logo to the Facebook/Instagram “Stay Home” sticker, which Facebook rolled out as a way to encourage people to practice social distancing. It also has the same branding as the button in the Facebook “Explore” sidebar that leads users to Facebook’s coronavirus information portal. That portal, too, has the heart branding, but is in blue rather than purple.
The main question is: Why on earth would anyone want a coronavirus reaction button? Maybe it will take on a meaning as people use it, like a way to express coronavirus-specific solidarity and sympathy. Or, maybe it will become an easy way to express disbelief at the extraordinary events we’re living through. Who knows?! Either way, there’s a button for that.