Engagement by Design: An Empirical Study of the 'Reactions' Feature on Facebook Business Pages
ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, Forthcoming
36 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2020
Date Written: July 26, 2020
We study the impact and interplay of social design features on the engagement behaviors toward user-generated content on Facebook business pages. By examining the introduction of the “Reactions” feature on Facebook, we aim to understand how the introduction of a new engagement feature affects the overall engagement activities and the use of existing engagement features. We found evidence of a positive effect of Reactions on overall engagement levels. Furthermore, the introduction of the Reactions feature had heterogeneous effects on the use of existing engagement features. Posts that received Reactions also ended up receiving more Likes and Comments than what they would have received before the feature change. However, the opposite is true for posts that received no Reactions, although the effect sizes were small. These effects were detected within the first four weeks after the feature introduction, and persisted after six months, indicating long-term structural changes in users’ engagement behaviors.
Keywords: social computing, social media, user engagement, user-generated content, feature design, Facebook business pages, heterogeneous effects
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