Facebook reportedly started experimenting with a GIF button in comments, allowing some users to post GIFs from popular online services like Tenor and GIPHY without going through the hassle of manually searching for them outside of Facebook. The Menlo Park-based social media giant confirmed that the feature is in the works in a statement given to TechCrunch, but noted that the future of the functionality is not set in stone and the company is only running a limited test at this point in time. Regardless, a Facebook spokesperson promised that the firm will share an update on the situation as soon as it can and asked users to remain patient.
Refer to the screenshots below to see how Facebook's new GIF button for comments looks like in the company's mobile app. The same functionality is also reportedly available on desktops to a limited number of users, though it's still unclear in which territories is the feature being tested. The button itself works as expected, i.e. you can tap it or click on it to open a small window that lets you search for GIFs by keywords and automatically embed them into comments. A number of other social platforms like Twitter supported similar GIF integration for years, so most users should already be familiar with the user interface that Facebook is now testing. Regardless, it's worth noting that even if the Menlo Park-based Internet firm decides to go through with implementing the aforementioned button on a global level, it still won't allow users to post GIFs as standalone posts and will only offer the feature within the commenting interface.
Despite reports that Facebook's social media platform supported GIFs for years, the company was so far reluctant to take advantage of it due to fear that flashy animated images might be too distracting and diminish the overall user experience of the service. However, following the massive success of GIF and general multimedia-sharing platforms like Imgur, it seems that Facebook is now exploring the option of going back on its previous stance and implementing limited GIF support into its social network. Regardless of whether the company decides to go through with that idea, more details on the matter will likely follow shortly.