Facebook confirmed it has begun testing a new GIF maker in the camera feature of the main Facebook mobile application. The feature, which is available with the tap of a button at the top of the screen, lets you shoot footage that you can then save in GIF format to your device’s photo gallery, post to your Facebook profile, or add to your Facebook Story.
The addition was first spotted today by The Next Web, which notes that the GIFs shot via this feature only last a few seconds.
GIFs are hugely popular form of self-expression on a number of social networks, including apps like Twitter and Tumblr, but Facebook had been slow to adopt the medium. It wasn’t until spring of 2015 that the social network decided it would finally support GIFs in the News Feed, for example. Prior to this, the company had historically held off on enabling GIFs because it would make the feed “too chaotic,” it believes.
Facebook had instead put the emphasis on video, which also bring a lively quality to the News Feed. But, unlike GIFs, videos are easier to monetize.
However, the network has been loosening up on GIFs in more recent days. Last month, it rolled out a GIF button for comments to all users, while also detailing the impact of GIFs on the network.
According to Facebook’s own stats, almost 13 billion GIFs were sent on Messenger over the past year, with 400 million GIFs sent just on New Year’s Day 2017.
With the addition of a GIF-making utility built right into the Facebook Camera, it’s clear that Facebook is now more ready than ever to embrace the popular animated format.
A Facebook representative confirmed the feature is currently being tested with a “very small number of iOS users” for the time being, but notes there will be more information about this GIF maker arriving in a few weeks’ time.