It goes without saying that what most of us would like to do right now is the ability to hug our loved ones. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 and social distancing, that is not possible, but now Facebook has launched two emojis to help users bridge that gap.
The first emoji is a yellow smiley face hugging a red heart. Fidji Simo, the head of the Facebook app, has stated the new reaction is meant to be a sign of caring and solidarity when commenting on a status, comment, or photo. You can see this emoji when you hover over the like thumb. Its with the basic heart, and the laughing, shock, sadness, and anger emojis. The second emoji is available on Facebook Messenger and is a purple beating heart.
Facebook’s communication manager, Alexandru Voica, announced these two emojis last month on Twitter. The emojis are “a way for people to share their support with one another during this unprecedented time. We hope these reactions give people additional ways to show their support during the #COVID19 crisis.”
“This idea of a hug reaction came back consistently as one of the emotions and feelings that were missing from reactions. So that’s something that was always on our minds,” Simo told USA TODAY. Simo also mentioned Facebook was considering adding the hug reaction before the pandemic, but when the outbreak happened it became more vital to the team.
“This current crisis really shows a range of people struggling with very different kinds of things. People who are sick or taking care of sick ones. People who are losing their jobs. People who are stuck at home home-schooling their kids. Everyone right now has something in their lives that requires support,” Simo said.
This is now the seventh reaction emoji available on Facebook and the first addition to the list of reactions since it was expanded from a simple like button back in 2015. Whether it becomes a temporary or permanent feature depends on people’s response. Facebook has added temporary reactions in the past such as a purple flower for Mother’s Day or a rainbow flag for Pride. The original purpose of these emojis was to smooth online discussions, helping people communicate better by signaling moods and emotions.
Facebook has become one the primary sources of human connection during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite that, not everyone is embracing the new emojis. Some say the heart-hugging emoji reminds them more of Valentine’s Day while others have thought the Messenger emoji resembles the Warner Brothers’ “That’s all folks!” logo.
What do you think? Do you like the new emojis? Have you been using them? Let us know.