Facebook Is Adding a New Hug Reaction to Offer 'Extra Support' During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The new reaction button is set to appear on Messenger Friday and on Facebook next week

Facebook has launched a new 'Hug' reaction button
Photo: Facebook

While people around the globe continue to social distance amid the coronavirus pandemic, Facebook is offering a new heart-warming reaction to bring friends and family closer together.

Starting Friday, the social media giant will be rolling out its seventh reaction button — an adorable emoji hugging a heart — as a way for people to show “extra support” while the world battles through difficult times.

The reaction joins other buttons including “like,” “heart,” “LOL,” “wow,” “sad” and “angry” and will appear on Messenger starting Friday and on Facebook next week, Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook app, told USA Today.

“This idea of a hug reaction came back consistently as one of the emotions and feelings that were missing from reactions. So that’s something that was always on our minds,” she shared. “And with the crisis that we are going through right now, there is no doubt that people need more compassion, more support.”

Simo explained that the reaction on Facebook will be available to show compassion on status updates, messages, photos or videos while on Messenger. Users can click the vibrating heart “when a regular heart does not feel like enough.”

Facebook has launched a new 'Hug' reaction button

“We’ve added a new reaction so you can show extra support while many of us are apart,” the update on Facebook reads. “We hope this helps you, your family and your friends feel a bit more connected.”

Simo told the outlet that like many of its temporary reactions on Facebook, the popularity of the reaction is what determines whether or not it becomes a permanent feature.

“This time is going to help us really understand how people are using it, whether they are finding value and whether this reaction is really specific to the moment in time that we are going through or if it’s more evergreen,” she said, adding, “Based on that, we will decide whether we keep it or whether we remove it at the end of this crisis.”

The hugging reaction comes just weeks after the social networking platform announced another feature to help those impacted by the virus: a new page called Community Help.

The philanthropic page, which was built after Facebook saw an increase in posts about helping others, allows people to set a filter that specifies their location and mile radius, within 50 miles or less.

Facebook app

They also have the option of choosing the ability to give or receive help, and the category in which they’re looking to contribute, including baby supplies, business support, food, information, toiletries, transportation and volunteer work.

From there, users can create new posts stating what they’re searching for or looking to do. Those wanting to help can also respond to already-existing requests to offer their services.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

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