Trying to help affection-starved users cope during the ongoing health crisis, Facebook is adding what it calls “Care” emojis to Messenger and its flagship app.
“We’re launching new Care reactions … as a way for people to share their support with one another during this unprecedented time,” Alexandru Voica, a communication manager at Facebook tweeted on Friday.
One of the new designs depicts Facebook’s classic emoji character hugging a heart, while the other appears to be a beating heart, perhaps emanating loving energy.
“We hope these reactions give people additional ways to show their support during the [COVID-19] crisis,” Voica said.
The new reaction emojis are expected to begin rolling out next week, globally.
“The digital barrier features a radius of approximately six feet … the minimum safe distance as recommended by the World Health Organization … and follows Snapchatters as they move throughout their environment,” said Rachel Weiner, creative sStrategy telco lead at Snapchat. “If someone steps within the circle, the color changes from green to red to indicate an unsafe distance.”
Along with care-filled emojis, Facebook has been adding more practical tools to users to help users navigate the crisis.
In the next few weeks, for example, it plans to begin alerting users who engage with COVID-related misinformation.
Facebook also recently added a new section to its COVID-19 Information Center called “Get the Facts,” which includes fact-checked articles from partners.
Facebook isn’t the only social network thinking up new features to help users survive the pandemic.
Earlier this month, Snapchat added a “Social Distancing Lens,” which used augmented reality technology to create a virtual circle around them.