Facebook turns on its 'Like' button

Social-networking site activates FriendFeed-like button, allowing members to apply "Like" labels to messages, photos, and other content.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
Expertise I have more than 30 years' experience in journalism in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
Steven Musil
2 min read
Facebook officially unveils its new "Like" feature, which allows members to tell their friends what they think of shared content. Facebook

Facebook has been taking a long look at FriendFeed and likes what it sees.

The social-networking site likes FriendFeed's "Like" button so much that--as widely expected--it added its own button that allows members to apply "Like" labels to messages, photos, and other content. The feature, which appears to be getting a gradual rollout, is tucked in between the "Comment" and "Share" options.

Likening the new feature to how one might rate a restaurant, Leah Pearlman of Facebook describes in a blog posting how the "Like" button works:

We've just introduced an easy way to tell friends that you like what they're sharing on Facebook with one easy click. Wherever you can add a comment on your friends' content, you'll also have the option to click "Like" to tell your friends exactly that: "I like this."

This is similar to how you might rate a restaurant on a reviews site. If you go to the restaurant and have a great time, you may want to rate it 5 stars. But if you had a particularly delicious dish there and want to rave about it, you can write a review detailing what you liked about the restaurant. We think of the new "Like" feature to be the stars, and the comments to be the review.

Facebook was widely expected to adopt the feature after the social-networking site posted an instructional video last month that nonchalantly displayed the new button. The move is the latest in a growing list of features Facebook has borrowed from FriendFeed.

Last May, Facebook began allowing users to import YouTube, StumbleUpon, Pandora, Hulu, Last.fm, and Google Reader into the social network's Mini-Feed--similar to a service offered by FriendFeed. Also, Facebook's commenting system for news items is very reminiscent of FriendFeed.

All of this begs the question: what FriendFeed feature will Facebook "Like" next?