GIFs have been around for ages but they have recently become a “big thing” again. While other social networks have been supporting the format for years, Facebook is finally following the crowd.
The company recently confirmed that it will now support GIFs in your news feed. Previously, users would require third-party solutions to post GIFs and view them on the social network. A spokesperson said
We’re rolling out support for animated GIFs in News Feed. This is so you can share more fun, expressive things with your friends on Facebook.
Facebook had previously decided to stay away from GIF support so the new decision is a big change in direction. The company had previously claimed that it would make the News Feed “too chaotic”. Instead, Facebook chose to focus on videos. The company introduced video autoplay in 2013 to make the news feed much more alive.
For now, GIFs will have to be hosted on some other website. Furthermore, Pages or Groups cannot post GIFs. Only individuals can.
To post a GIF, all the users need to do is paste the link to the site where the GIF is hosted and Facebook will automatically retrieve the whole thing. GIFs will autoplay similar to how videos play on Facebook. There’s a downside to it though.
The GIF needs to be hosted on some website so if you have a GIF, you will need to have it hosted on some website to post it in your timeline. Either that or the user will need to hotlink the GIF to any other website.
Another limitation set by Facebook for now is that animated GIFs can only be posted by individual users, not Pages or groups. Facebook might have done this to prevent an overflow of GIFs on people’s news feed. GIFs will automatically load on the mobile app but the mobile website won’t work that way and GIFs will need to be played manually.
The update is still rolling out for everybody so some might already have it while others will see the new feature in the coming days.