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Expressing Empathy Through Reactions and What It Means For Financial Services Firms

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Since 2009, we’ve been able to Like content on Facebook, making it easy for us to express a virtual “thumbs up” to our friends’ baby announcements, big moves to new cities and wedding photos. But a Like doesn’t fit certain status updates or news articles. In the past, when a friend shared that a loved one had died, I’ve vacillated between hitting the “thumbs up” or saying nothing at all.
It didn’t feel quite right to Like that type of post. But I still wanted to express something.
Others have felt the same way. According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, people have been asking for a Dislike button for years. But what they really wanted was the ability to “express empathy,” he said in an a Q&A at Facebook last September. So, his team worked on a way to make the “thumbs up” more expressive. On Wednesday, Facebook rolled out Reactions, an extension of the Like button, to give users more ways to share their reactions to a post in a quick and simple way. Now you can hold down the Like button on mobile or hover over the LIke button on desktop to express how a post, photo or article makes you feel by tapping Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, or Angry.

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My friend’s nonprofit was accepted to Y Combinator – I Love this!

Facebook has become a place to share news about life’s highs and lows. Being able to express our excitement at a friend’s new job post or our mourning over the loss of a loved one gives us a more empathetic experience on Facebook.
Reactions also show us how others are engaging with our own posts on the social network. For financial advisors and insurance agents, this new feature could prove to be a more nuanced way to assess how prospects and clients are engaging with content on Facebook.
So, how does this apply to financial services?
Any time new functionality is introduced by social networks, firms need to look at this functionality from a compliance standpoint.
If your policy is to prohibit advisors and agents from using the Like button on Facebook, you may consider applying the same policy to Reactions. You may also consider that some firms adhere to the 2012 SEC Risk Alert which states that interpretation of a Like as a testimonial is based on the facts and circumstances surrounding the type of post or piece of content.
As always, you should consult your firm’s policies and talk with your compliance team about the application, if any, of these or any laws or regulations restricting advertisements and other communications with the public to your business.
Disclaimer: The material available on this blog is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. We make no guarantees on the accuracy of the information provided herein.

Alissa Dos Santos

As a Senior Product Marketing Manager, Alissa brings products to life through storytelling. She has a background in enterprise technology, social media and journalism. Before working in tech, Alissa was a television reporter.

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