Meta has announced some new Messenger features for International Women’s Day, including new word effects options, custom chat backgrounds on the theme, and tools for Messenger Kids.
First off, on Word Effects, which Messenger added last year. Word Effects enable you to choose an emoji to be paired with a certain word or term, which will then spark an on-screen explosion of that emoji character whenever it's used within your chat.
And for International Women’s Day, Messenger has added a series of its own Word Effects, triggered by various terms.
“A high-heeled shoe emoji will rain across the screen when you send the word “boss” in a chat, a flex emoji will appear for “go girl,” and the female superhero emoji reinforces that “mom” isn’t just a mother – she’s superhuman.”
Look, they’re a little bit cringe, but the idea is well-intentioned - and you can, of course, define your own Word Effects by choosing an emoji to associate with whatever word or term you choose, even if you don’t like these ones.
But just be wary that if you’re using Messenger to send a message to your boss this month, things could get a little confusing.
In addition to this, Messenger’s also adding a new themed sticker pack, created by illustrator and graphic designer Lucie Corbasson, which is designed to “encourage conversation around female empowerment, progress, and sisterhood”
Messenger’s also adding a new Lo-Fi chat theme and custom sticker pack from artist Elora Pautrat, which will also be available within Instagram.
And finally, on Messenger Kids, Meta’s also adding new themed stickers which celebrate different passions, “from math and science, to art and literature, to sports and leadership”, in order to encourage girls to follow their dreams. There are also new AR masks which highlight two iconic women in history - Cleopatra and Marie Curie.
International Women’s Day presents an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of women, and the importance, and significance, of female achievements, while it’s also an important reminder of the impacts of implicit bias, and the various challenges that women still face, in many elements.
These Messenger tools provide a means to take part in the broader discussion, and while the flood of emojis for certain terms is probably a little questionable, the idea is that you can and should take this opportunity to recognize the most important women in your life.
The features will be active in Messenger throughout the month.