Facebook is adding a new hug reaction so we can support each other while social distancing

Social distancing and social media go hand-in-hand. When you can’t be with friends and family in person, you can share memes and informative articles, chat and find ways to uplift each other up during these uncertain times.

Facebook is adding a couple of new “Care” reactions to make it even easier to show your love and support to people you care for and even strangers amid the COVID-19 pandemic — a hug and a pulsating heart.

“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,” Facebook’s Fidji Samo told USA Today. “And with the crisis that we are going through right now, there is no doubt that people need more compassion, more support.”

Alexandru Voica, the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) tech comms manager for Facebook, tweeted the news on April 17. “We’re launching new Care reactions on @facebookapp and @Messenger as a way for people to share their support with one another during this unprecedented time,” Voica wrote in the tweet. “We hope these reactions give people additional ways to show their support during the #COVID19 crisis.”

There will be two new care reactions: one for Facebook posts, and the other to use on Facebook Messenger. The heart-hugging face emoji will join the six existing reactions that appear when you “like” a post. The current reactions include Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry. Voica posted a video clip on Twitter showing what to expect.

“On Facebook, we will launch a seventh Reaction alongside the existing six,” he tweeted. “The new Care Reaction will start rolling out next week globally and you can use it to react to posts, comments, images, videos, or other content on the app and http://Facebook.com.”

On Messenger, the Reaction will appear as a pulsating heart. To use it, you will need to upgrade your current love reaction. Voica tweeted instructions along with an instructional video.

“To update the Reaction, you can press and hold down the heart reaction to view the new one,” Voica wrote. “To change it back, press and hold the new Reaction again.”

If you don’t have either reaction as an option yet, don’t fret, you’ll be able to hug Facebook friends soon. The company is rolling out the reactions globally this week, so if you don’t have it, it just hasn’t made it to your account yet.