Facebook Stickers – the cute, cartoonish images Facebook Messenger users take advantage of to spice up their conversations – are now rolling out to a wider audience. Facebook announced today that stickers will be available on comments found on people’s Timeline posts, Group posts and Event posts.
To access the stickers, users tap the smiley face icon in the bottom-right of any comment field on Facebook in order to pick the sticker they want to share with the others on the thread. The engineer on the project, Bob Baldwin, shared his thoughts on stickers when announcing the news on his own timetime this afternoon, explaining that “stickers will allow people to reply to a variety of posts in a more fun way than words alone.”
“You can now easily show your excitement for a post with good news, cheer up a friend who’s feeling down, and express a variety of more nuanced reactions,” he says.
Stickers and emoji are sometimes seen as silly things — and, well they are to some extent. After all, you can’t take a picture of a dog eating a cheeseburger or a cat riding a scooter all that seriously. But they also allow users to express their tone in a way that may not always come across in a digital format where interactions historically have been text-based.
Many times, we’ve seen threads where one friend makes a sarcastic comment and others jump on them in a viral mob of Facebook abuse – but the original commenter was only making a joke, as it turned out. It just fell flat. And they were attacked.
A sticker could have diffused the situation at the forefront by letting others know the poster was not serious. In a world where cyberbullying is now rampant, I’d actually argue that anything that can prevent comment threads from turning ugly is fairly important – even if it comes in the form of a bird with a lampshade on its head. (Yes, this is an actual sticker.)
Stickers also allow social networking and messaging users to engage in conversations more easily from a mobile phone since they can sum up an emotion or thought with just a picture. That’s obviously another key area for Facebook to focus on as it continues its shift to mobile.
However, enabling stickers in comments could also make scrolling through longer threads — like those on public pages — more time-consuming.
The stickers are now available to Facebook users across web and mobile, the company says.