Facebook rolls out Kirk, Spock and LaForge for Star Trek Day

Today is the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, and Facebook has found a fun way to celebrate with its fans. The marketing lead of Facebook Messenger, Lindsey Shepard, has posted the social networking giant’s plans on a Medium post: the like buttons will be getting a temporary Star Trek themed makeover.

Facebook rolls out Kirk, Spock and LaForge for Star Trek Day

Well, they will if you live in the US or Canada anyway. The Like button gets a few glittering stars in the background, while the Love icon is replaced by the Vulcan salute. For the faces, we get a mix of the original series and The Next Generation. What could possibly make Kirk laugh, while leaving Spock shocked, a Klingon angry and Geordi La Forge in tears? I’m sure there’s some fanfiction out there that could shed some light on this puzzle.

Like Google’s doodles, this is a clever way of getting people talking about Facebook (I am writing about it right now, after all) but there’s also something a bit more personal at work here. As Shepard says:

“These reactions will be available to some Star Trek fans in the US and Canada for a limited time, and will appear when you hover over the Like button on a post.”

That suggests that you will only ever see these variations if you tell Facebook you’re interested in Star Trek – revealing only the bare minimum of information about yourself will exclude you from the fun. Being outside the US, I couldn’t check this for myself, but Napier Lopez at The Next Web confirms he had to like the official page for the changes to kick in.

Is it perhaps a touch too cynical to suggest Facebook might be using customised reactions as another tool to get their users to open up to them for advertisers’ benefits?

That kind of thing makes Geordi La Forge sad.star_trek_reaction_emoji_facebook

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