In what can be seen as a clear example of heeding to popular trends and user demands (which btw, Facebook has always valued), Facebook will now soon begin testing a dedicated button in the news feed comments, allowing you to browse through a host of GIFs from Giphy and others, and use them as comments.
The same was confirmed by Facebook to The Tech Portal. Here’s what FB has to say on GIF testing,
Everyone loves a good GIF and we know that people want to be able to use them in comments. So we’re about to start testing the ability to add GIFs to comments and we’ll share more when we can, but for now we repeat that this is just a test.
As is the case with all of Facebook’s newer roll-outs and feature tests, this GIF button will be available to a select few users on Facebook first. Based on their feedback and usage of the feature, Facebook will decide whether it should roll it out publicly or retract on the same.
The button is expected to function just the way you use the GIF button in Messenger. However, you still won’t be able to post GIFs in your Newsfeed. With getting into the comments section though, GIFs may have finally made their way into the mainstream of world’s largest social media network. And since they are coming to mainstream, seeing them on Newsfeed won’t be too much of a surprise.
This development is significant, specially when you talk about Facebook.
The company has always been on the sidelines when it has come to embracing animated GIFs, with a simple reasoning that these animated images can distract people from the main content on Newsfeed. And even though that may have some genuine logic behind it, the sheer popularity of GIFs is such, that Facebook can not continue to remain aloof of the same.
Multi-million dollar media companies like Buzzfeed have actually, successfully built their business models around extensive usage of GIFs. In fact, these sites are now using GIFs in their listicles as a regular feature, which is also resulting in draining away of visitors from various social media networks.
So what next ? Well, we’ll wait for the test roll-out first. Once that happens, we might soon see a public rollout. Why are we optimistic that a public roll-out will happen ? Largely because GIFs are extremely popular, and secondly because they are a lot similar to videos, which is a division Facebook is aggressively pushing upon.