HOORAY! AT flipping blooming last! Facebook finally supports GIF animations (in comment threads, at least). The social network made the announcement to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the GIF extension.
Although popular for a long time, it is only recently with the power of even the smallest computer to display the animations hidden within in under a fortnight, that the whole internet has gone GIF mad.
GIFs are popular as an extension of the emoji concept, showing emotion or feeling with a short animation, so it seems that the heart-on-sleeve nature of Facebook is the natural home for them.
Facebook's instant services, Messenger and WhatsApp have had GIF support for some time, and last year alone there were 13 billion GIFs sent over Messenger, while WhatsApp got full support late last year.
Gmail has had a Giphy library extension for some time, while Twitter added a GIF button for instant access to an extensive library of low-res Spongebob Memes in 2015 as part of its reinvention.
The GIF button on Facebook accesses Giphy as well as a number of other libraries. Facebook has prioritised Facebook Live, its mobile broadcasting service over GIF support, but the demand for it is yet to go away.
"Just tap the GIF button when you go to make a comment, type in what you're looking to say, and add the GIF that really nails it," says Facebook in a strangely worded statement.
At the moment, you can't post an original post/status/thread starter as a GIF, only comment on an existing thread, but we imagine it's only a matter of time.
Usually, the next part of any article about GIFs is the inevitable question "is it pronounced as ‘G'if or ‘J'if". We have had many discussions about this in the past and have come to a definite conclusion and are happy to share it with you now to mark this 30th anniversary. It's pronounced "GIF". Hope that settles that. µ
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