If you haven’t noticed it yet, there’s something different on Facebook. There’s a new way to react to posts: the ‘care’ react.

New care react on Facebook

Spreading love in hard times

With the challenges and heartache the coronavirus has brought to the world, the blue thumbs up and red heart weren’t enough to express concern or love. The new react is a way to show other Facebook users that you care more than a regular heart emoji’s worth. 

Facebook is calling it a “virtual hug”- a way to show people you care during the coronavirus pandemic. With social distancing restrictions, many of us can’t physically hug our friends and family right now. So, this is just a small gesture to show our love.

Two versions of the Facebook 'care' react

There are two versions of this reaction. The first in smiling face emoji hugging a pink heart, and it can be used in the main Facebook platform. The other, a purple heart, can be used in Facebook Messenger. 

Some people aren’t using it for its intended purpose. Many Facebook users are making joke posts and using the “care react” as a prompt for silly questions. But it’s all in good fun and lifts people’s spirits anyway.

Facebook’s status

With over 1.7 billion people logging on Facebook daily, it’s the third most popular platform in the world. So even if only a small percentage of users utilize this reaction, it’s sure to get plenty of use. Other react options available right now are: like, love, laughing, surprised, angry, and sad. All except the original thumbs up were rolled out in February 2016. 

This isn’t the first time Facebook has released an event-based reaction. In the past, they’ve released a purple flower reaction for Mother’s Day and a rainbow for Pride month. Although a spokesperson announced they would no longer release temporary reactions, apparently this pandemic was significant enough for them to step back on previous statements. 

Missing out on regular social interactions means we’re missing a lot of small things from the routine of normal life. The care react is a simple gesture at a time when the simple things matter more than ever. 

Other small ways to connect with loved ones on social media:

1. Tag them in a funny meme.

2. Share a cute animal video with them.

3. Make them participate in a TikTok trend with you.

4. Invite them to join a silly Facebook group, like this one where you can pretend to be an ant. (Yes, that’s a real group. And it has over 1 million members.)