If you’re a professed Facebook “freak,” you’ve likely noticed some new options while clicking through posts this morning. Following last week’s controversial decision to expand the iconic ‘Like’ button, Facebook is going even further on Super Tuesday: Bernie, Trump, Marco, Hillary, and Ted Cruz are now available in mini, widget-friendly form.
“This is just the beginning” boasts Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
“Metrically, the ‘Like’ button hasn’t gone anywhere – posts that get a lot of attention still get a lot of clicks, a lot of likes, a lot of shares. In so many ways, the button hasn’t changed at all. We just made it more fun and more relevant.”
The candidates’ avatars are displayed alongside – and function identically – to “Haha,” “Yay,” “Wow,” and the other “Like Buddies,” as Zuckerberg fondly refers to them. Many see these recent additions as a reaction to the success of more game-oriented, emoji-centric apps like Snapchat. In fact, consumer data has shown that Facebook’s use among 14-19 year old’s has decreased by 400% since 2010.
“Sure, the numbers were concerning at first. But we’re Facebook. Facebook. C’mon!”
I spoke to the eccentric media mogul in his Palo Alto home, where his basement “media command center” was littered with sketches and 3D models sent to him by Facebook designers around the world. In other words, Hillary, Trump, and company are only the first of many public figures to be flattered by this massive new expansion.
“Yes, there will be MLK. Yes, there will be Kanye. Right now we’re working on a César Chávez, prepping for a Cinco de Mayo release. Of course, there will be a little leprechaun on St. Patrick’s Day. People love that shit.”
From behind his cluttered desk, Zuckerberg was all smiles. He was not concerned about the Like Buddies crowding his interface: he noted the similarly “massive” swath of Emojis that flooded smart phones and social media platforms this past year, and the overwhelmingly positive reaction they received.
When I pressed him on the absence of Ohio governor John Kasich from the most recent update, however, his disposition soured.
“John Kasich? Really? Do you see anyone begging for a John Kasich button?”
He flung his arms back towards the tall white wall behind him, which was covered in pictures of himself eating corn-on-the-cob.
“No. Sorry. Kasich? Not happening.”