Facebook’s research side of things has made some fascinating discoveries and insights over the years, but the company’s latest eureka moment will likely stun scientists: it’s possible to dumb down Facebook comment threads beyond what was thought humanly possible.
To that end, to mark the 30th birthday of the GIF, Facebook has made it far easier to find and search for the perfect animation. If you have an Uber account, you don’t need a car, and now with Facebook’s GIF support, you don’t need to possess an original thought. Happy days.
Actually, Facebook has had support for GIFs for two years, but posting one required a little more legwork than most people could be bothered with. You’d have to track down the URL of a GIF posted elsewhere, and then paste it into Facebook. Now there’s simply a GIF button that you can press, type in some words, and marvel as your creativity is outsourced to someone else. In other words, it works exactly the same way it does in Facebook Messenger.
So why has Facebook been sat on this for so long? The word is that the company was wary about deploying it widely, as it might make newsfeeds too busy – and it’s still only available in comments for now. But with people’s enthusiasm for GIFs showing no sign of abating, failing to embrace the format was really only helping give services such as Imgur an advantage. And like the world’s number-one-seeded Hungry Hungry Hippos player, Facebook is happiest when it has all the marbles.