Facebook won’t be bringing back the Pride reaction emoji
Facebook has opted not to bring back the much-loved Pride reaction emoji in 2018.
In 2017, the social media giant implemented the rainbow flag reaction for users to celebrate LGBT pride, which promptly became a huge hit worldwide.
Alongside Like, Love, Sad, Haha, Wow and Angry, the Pride reaction was initially added for June’s US Pride Month, before being expanded in some locations to cover later celebrations such as Prides in London and Berlin.
However, fans of the reaction – which was notably used to troll anti-LGBT politicians during its short-lived appearance on the platform – were recently disappointed to find that the reaction had been discontinued.
Facebook spokesperson Lisa Stratton confirmed to Business Insider on Saturday that custom reactions, including the Pride flag, had been dropped from the social platform.
“We are no longer doing custom reactions for major holidays or moments in culture,” Stratton said.
The release of the reaction in 2017 featured its own controversy after it became clear that Facebook was hiding its LGBT Pride Month reactions from users in countries with anti-gay laws.
Users in Egypt, Palestine, Bahrain, Lebanon, Singapore, Russia, among other countries, were unable to access the LGBT flag reaction.
Facebook did not explain its reasoning for withholding the reaction in the countries.
Facebook had choice wording when it launched the reaction, stating: “People in major markets with Pride celebrations will be able to use a temporary rainbow reaction during Pride month.”
With the absence of the Pride reaction, Facebook and Instagram have instead launched new rainbow-inspired features – available all year – to celebrate Pride month in the US this June.
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The new settings include “Pride Profile Frames” on Facebook, where users can choose rainbow frames – including multicoloured waves and concentric circles – to add to their profile picture.
Facebook users can also personalise their text posts with Pride-themed backgrounds, and the camera mode now has a variety of rainbow-inspired masks and effects.
In Facebook Messenger, users can share Pride-themed filters, frames and stickers in the Messenger Camera.
“The LGBTQ community has always been a celebrated part of Facebook,” said Alex Schultz, vice president of growth at Facebook, on Friday.
“We know representation and having a community matters — whether that be LGBTQ people sharing photos that can change hearts and minds, or using our products, like Facebook Groups, to find a supportive network.”
During June, users will also see rainbow gradients added to frequently used LGBT hashtags on Facebook-owned Instagram.