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Facebook Like and Share buttons receive dramatic makeovers

Facebook has rolled out revamped Like and Share buttons, ditching the iconic "thumbs up" for a more uniform look.

The social network's buttons are plopped onto millions of websites in an effort to keep people connected to Facebook no matter where they are on the Internet.

For years, the same "thumbs up" image that adorns users' timelines has been plastered all over websites with the purpose of driving Facebook referral traffic. Now, the revamped Like option comes in the same format as its Share counterpart: a blue and white rectangle with the network's logo.

Like allows users to post links to Facebook with one click, while Share lets them add a personalised message and customise a target audience.

"We're already seeing a favorable increase in Likes and Shares with the new design and will be rolling these buttons out to everyone in the coming weeks," software engineer Ray C. wrote in a blog post.

Those sites still using the old Like button will be automatically upgraded to the new design as part of the transformation. Facebook has made the options available as solo buttons, or a two-pack, for the more than 7.5 million websites that currently host the badges.

Ray C. showed off the new buttons in action on the Huffington Post site — one of the most popular domains in terms of links posted back to Facebook.

"We place the Like and Share buttons right below the headline of our articles and in a persistent left side bar that stays with the user when they scroll down the page," HuffPo's Head of Product, Nico Pitney, said in a statement. "We want to give people every opportunity to like and share content, and at this point, I like to think we've made it hard not to engage in social actions."

The buttons really work, too, according to a recent report from Shareaholic, which calculated 13 months of data from 200,000 publishers, and found that Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter accounted for more than 15 percent of overall traffic in September. Specifically, Facebook grew 58.81 percent over the year before.

Earlier in the year, Facebook was hit with a lawsuit by a Dutch company over a disputed patent covering the Like button.