Facebook's New Plane Reaction Was Leftover From a Hackathon
It's not sticking around.
In the world of Facebook reactions, emotions are a tad limited. You can like, love, laugh, be surprised, cry, or be pissed. But Tuesday, some users appeared to be able to express… plane?
Tuesday morning, users on social media began to report that they were able to react with a new airplane emoji, in addition to their standard reactions. The revelation was not initially accompanied by an announcement from the social media giant, leaving users largely flying in the dark with the plane.
So, what’s going on? Here’s what you need to know.
It’s Not Sticking Around
When reached for comment, a Facebook representative told Inverse that “this was created as part of an employee hackathon and wasn’t cleared for takeoff. Our apologies.”
Facebook will not continue with a full rollout.
You May Be Able to Still Get It
For now, you might be able to still get the feature if you’re an Android user. Users who successfully got access to the reaction updated their Facebook apps to the latest version and cleared their cache from phone settings.
Once that’s done, you should be able to go to any post, click comment, and find the plane reaction, which is titled “react,” when you hold down the like button. Some have said that a second pissed-off face appears instead, and that the plane reaction appears when you click it.
Presumably, once Facebook issues another update, the feature will be gone.
Is It Real?
While Inverse wasn’t able to independently confirm that it worked with a non-iPhone, because everyone in our newsroom uses iPhones, multiple users have posted screenshots on Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook. Additionally, You can find plane reactions on certain Facebook posts even if you don’t have access to it yourself.
There is, however, a scam going around telling users that if they comment on certain pages or like certain posts that they’ll gain access to the plane reaction. While that’s the oldest trick in the book, we still have a duty to tell you that that’s not true.
Will It Be a Future Feature?
Perhaps the most mysterious part of the whole affair was why Facebook would want a plane? The reaction doesn’t express a particular emotion, and could perhaps only be imagined to be used in the context of travel posts.
According to Facebook, they have no plans to roll out the reaction, which fits with previous decisions around their reactions.
In June, Facebook announced that it was scrapping custom reactions that it released with special holidays like the LGBT pride flag and the purple flower for Mother’s Day.
Reactions themselves are speculated to simply be another form of data that Facebook can harvest to sell to advertisers. While emotional reactions are certainly useful, a plane reaction doesn’t really fit with that model — information about users’ travel is presumably readily available from geolocation and keywords.
For now, a simple plane emoji in a comment will have to do.