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Twitter user @_Ninji, a development engineer for social MMO game Furcadia, first noted the ability to choose from a panel of emoji reactions on Monday. The options for reactions included 10 face emojis, the party popper emoji, and the 100 emoji.
In a series of subsequent tweets, @_Ninji said the previously unseen menu was accessed via a developer build of the Twitter app on a jailbroken iOS device. The user explained that using a tweak called Flex, they are able to force-enable features that are otherwise available only for specific users—a method @_Ninji previously used to access Polls before the feature rolled out completely.
(I have iOS Twitter patched to force-enable all the features that are only activated for specific users- I guess this is a recent addition?)
— I’m Ninji (@_Ninji) November 16, 2015
The emoji reactions are currently a prototype for user testing as an attempt by Twitter to make engaging with tweets more expressive. It’s not the only social network to try this; earlier this year, Facebook rolled out a pilot test for a feature called Reactions. Essentially a more expressive version of the “Like” button, Reactions—like Twitter’s own test feature—offers users a variety of emoji that express feedback to a post. Facebook has been testing the feature in Ireland and Spain.
When asked for comment on the subject of emoji reactions, Twitter offered simply:
AJ Dellinger is a seasoned technology writer whose work has appeared in Digital Trends, International Business Times, and Newsweek. In 2018, he joined Gizmodo as the nights and weekend editor.