What is a Like Button?
You probably see these on plenty of websites, and it is a little graphic button encouraging linking between a website and a social media profile. The “Like” is Facebook’s own version, Google has a “+1” button.
A like button, like option, is a feature in communication software such as social networking services, Internet forums, news websites and blogs where the user can express that they like, enjoy or support certain content. Internet services that feature like buttons usually display the number of users who liked each content, and may show a full or partial list of them. This is a quantitative alternative to other methods of expressing reaction to content, like writing a reply text. Some websites also include a dislike button, so the user can either vote in favor, against or neutrally. Other websites include more complex Web content voting systems, for example five stars or reaction buttons to show a wider range of emotion to the content.
The like button was first announced as a FriendFeed feature on October 30, 2007 and was popularized within that community. Later the feature was integrated into Facebook before FriendFeed was acquired by Facebook August 10, 2009.
The Facebook like button is designed as a hand giving “thumbs up”. It was originally discussed to have been a star or a plus sign, and during development the feature was referred to as “awesome” instead of “like”. It was introduced on 9 February 2009. During May 2016, Facebook introduced reactions – a new way to express peoples emotions to Facebook posts. Some reactions included “Love”, “Aha”, “Wow”, “Sad”, or “Angry”.
In 2010, as part of a wider redesign of the service, YouTube switched from a star-based rating system to Like/Dislike buttons. Under the previous system, users could rate videos on a scale from 1 to 5 stars; YouTube staff argued that this change reflected common usage of the system, as 2-, 3-, and 4-star ratings were not used as often.
In 2012, YouTube briefly experimented with replacing the Like and Dislike buttons with a Google+ +1 button.
Instagram has a like button. It is a heart symbol () similar to those in Twitter, Tumblr and VK. On the mobile app, double-tapping a photo also acts as a like button.
On Reddit (a large, sprawling system of message boards), users can up vote and down vote posts (and comments on posts). The votes contribute to posters’ and commentators’ “karma” (Reddit’s name for a user’s overall rating).
Alongside “retweets”, Twitter users could “favorite” posts made on the service, indicated by a gold star symbol. In November 2015, to alleviate user confusion and put the function more in line with other social networks, the “favorite” function was renamed “like”, and its button was changed from a star symbol to a heart.
Tumblr’s like button is heart-shaped like those in Twitter and Instagram.
Sina Weibo has a like button. Its functions are similar to those on Twitter.
Strava, a GPS tracking app for cycling and running, has a “Kudos” button which gives the option for users to like the activities of fellow athletes.
VK like buttons for posts, comments, media and external sites operate in a different way from Facebook. Liked content doesn’t get automatically pushed to the user’s wall, but is saved in the (private) Favorites section instead.
LinkedIn, a business and job opportunity focused social media platform, similarly implements a like button to allow users to keep track of interest articles or postings as well as share them with friends.
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