After many years of resistance, Facebook looks set to give in.
Well, at least partially.
According to TechCrunch, from next week, Facebook will begin testing GIFs in comments.
The new GIF option will work similar to how GIFs are made available in Messenger or on Twitter – tap a GIF button and you’ll be able to search through GIFs from providers like Giphy.
Adding a GIF on Messenger
TechCrunch says that users still won’t have the ability to share GIFs as News Feed posts, but the addition of comment GIFs could make that more of a possibility in future, dependent on the popularity of the option.
This also comes after Facebook recently announced that all advertisers are now able to use GIFs in their sponsored posts, with the animated pictures auto-playing in the News Feed, just like Facebook native video.
GIFs have long been a point of contention on Facebook – there are workarounds and processes you can use to shove GIFs into your Facebook experience, but the moving images have never been truly supported, despite their appearance in Messenger.
Facebook’s logic behind not supporting GIFs has been that they could distract users from other content, but with so many video posts now autoplaying as you scroll, that reasoning seems increasingly thin. Add to this the popularity of GIFs on other networks – more than 22 million GIFs are sent on Messenger every day, and tweets with GIFs generate 6X more engagement than basic text updates – and Facebook’s move to try them out makes perfect sense.
Apparently, Facebook has had the capacity to support GIFs built into their system for years, but is only now considering opening the gates.
Facebook says the test pool will be confined to “a small percentage of users”, so don’t be disappointed if you can’t upload GIFs straight away.
Also, don’t be surprised if your post comment feeds end up becoming squirming sprawls of movement flowing from your updates as more and more people look to upload movie and TV clips to portray their responses.
Maybe, GIFs in comments might actually prove to be a more expressive option than Reactions.