Yes, today is THE DAY for the animated GIFs fans.
Facebook announced today that it would support animated GIFs in the Facebook News Feed. While not everyone will see the added functionality immediately, as the update is still rolling out, eventually, the new feature will become standard on all profiles. This move represents a significant strategic change Facebook, which has historically avoided supporting GIFs, claiming that doing so would make its News Feed “too chaotic.” Instead of allowing GIFs, Facebook’s focus to date has been on video.
To try the new feature, you can paste a link to a GIF hosted on an external website like Giphy, Imgur, Tumblr, or elsewhere, into their status update box and then publish. The GIF will be animated inline after you post. You cannot currently upload GIFs directly, however, and see the same results. GIFs will auto-play on Facebook in line with your current video autoplay settings. If you choose to disable autoplay in your settings, you can tap or click a GIF (as indicated by “GIF” in a white circle on the image) to play it instead.
A Facebook spokesperson sent Adweek the following statement on animated GIF integration with business pages:
"We built support for animated GIFs to help people express themselves in fun new ways on Facebook. Like many features that we release on Facebook, we want to ensure that this drives a great experience for people first before rolling it out more widely. While Pages cannot currently post GIFs, we are exploring ways to enable this in the future."
Longtime Facebook users (read: old people like me who have been using the service since it was for college students only), will recall that if offered GIF support in the very early days. The ability to embed or upload GIFs was removed a decade ago, probably because of the negative impacts a ton of GIFs in the Newsfeed had on the product.
Sources and Additional Information: