The New Facebook Like Button and a Look at Its History

Over the past few years, Facebook users have witnessed the evolution of the Like button. Recently, Facebook has announced that the Like button will be taking over the Share function of wall posts and fan pages. In the near future, whenever we like a link on Facebook, a post will be created on our personal walls. The post will include a brief summary of what we have liked, including a picture and a headline. The Share button takeover is being implemented in order to drive more traffic to outside websites. The only question remaining is will this effect how often people like something they see in their newsfeed. Currently, liking something is pretty much private to all of your friends, but soon liking a link will be made much more public.
Facebook has come a long way with its Like button. When we first saw the Like button on our minifeeds, it was there to serve the purpose of telling someone with a good status that you enjoyed it. But the Like button that we see today took much time and debate to get to.

In 2007, the Like button was almost launched as the “Awesome” button. Zuckerberg vetoed naming the button “Awesome,” and then held off the launch of the new Facebook feature due to worries about cannibalization of the share button and problems with the privacy of interactions. Additionally, FriendFeed had already executed their own Like button, making Facebook’s feature seem a little less original. The concept of Facebook’s Awesome button was said to have come before FriendFeed’s, but FriendFeed beat them to the punch with their Like button.

Until April 19, 2010, Facebook users had the option to “Become a Fan” of their favorite companies’ Facebook pages, which was then replaced with the Like button. Finally in April 21, 2010, Facebook announced that it would be partnering with large corporations, like CNN and ESPN, to integrate its Like button onto their websites. Zuckerberg made the prediction that within 24 hours of its launch, the social plugin would make 1 billion impressions. After the launch, his prediction was surpassed.

In October 2010, the Like button evolved even further into banner ads across the web. People browsing different sites now could see this Like button in what used to be traditional online advertising. When clicked on, the story of liking the advertisement would show up on their personal Facebook profile, adding even more functionality to Like buttons everywhere.

Now, four months later, we are again seeing a new side of the Like button. Over the years we have slowly seen it progress from something we could use personally into new advertising tactics and site sharing. Although it may be subliminal in some cases, the Like button is all over the web, and will only continue to grow.