The Future of Mobile

Facebook adds iMessage-style reactions and mentions to Messenger

Alex Spencer

Facebook has added two features to Messenger: Reactions and Mentions.

Reactions, similar to the Facebook feature of the same name, give users a variety of ways of responding to messages. After a selecting a single message in a conversation, they can choose from one of seven emoji responses.

Six of these are the same as the Reactions offered on Facebook's main app: a thumbs up, plus faces for ‘love’, ‘smile’, ‘wow’, ‘sad’ and ‘angry’. The seventh option is a thumbs down – the closest Facebook has come to officially adding the long-rumoured ‘dislike’ button to its service.

The sender of the reacted-to message will receive a new kind of notification, or be shown a short animation if they already have Messenger open.

Mentions, meanwhile, is a way of highlighting specific people in a conversation, by typing an ‘@’ or the first few letters of their name, which will send a new kind of notification to that user.

These features are hardly unique to Messenger – ‘@’ mentions are standard in everything from Slack to Twitter, while Reactions is reminiscent of a similar feature Apple added to iMessage with the launch of iOS 10 – but, given Facebook’s recent penchant for imitating Snapchat, it makes a change to see it pulling from other sources.

The features are rolling out globally over ‘the coming days’, to both Messenger and Work Chat in Facebook’s Slack competitor Workplace.