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(Pocket-lint) - Many messaging apps now offer users the ability to react to a chat bubble with an emoji. Facebook Messenger users, for instance, can use emoji reactions in a conversation. Now, another Meta-owned messaging app has received an emoji reaction feature: WhatsApp.

Mark Zuckerberg announced on his Instagram Stories that an emoji reactions feature started rolling out - after exiting a beta program - to WhatsApp users on 5 May 2022. WhatsApp’s head, Will Cathcart, also confirmed the feature via a video on Twitter and the WhatsApp blog.

Here is everything you need to know about emoji reactions in WhatsApp.

What are emoji reactions?

Emoji reactions are literally emoji that you use to show another person you've seen their message and you felt a certain way about it. They can be a heart, for instance, or the face with tears of joy emoji. Emoji reactions are a universal, visual, and simple way to respond to a message without having to type a response.

How to get emoji reactions in WhatsApp

You need to download (or update to) the latest version of the WhatsApp mobile app. If you don't see emoji reactions in WhatsApp, just bear in mind that the software update bringing the feature is rolling out server-side. It may take a few weeks for everyone to get emoji reactions in WhatsApp.

How to react to messages in WhatsApp

If you want to use emoji reactions on a message in WhatsApp, follow these steps:

  1. Open the latest version of the WhatsApp mobile app.
  2. Long press on any message in a chat.
  3. A pop-up will appear with six emoji reactions.
  4. Select one of the emoji reactions to use it.
  5. Your emoji reaction will appear below the message you previously selected.

Which emoji does WhatsApp offer?

At launch, there are six emoji reactions available:

  • Thumbs up
  • Heart
  • Face with tears of joy
  • Face with mouth open
  • Crying face
  • Person with folded hands

WhatsApp promised to eventually support all emoji and skin tones that you can typically use in messages.

Anything else you should know?

According to WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is beta-testing a feature to enable or disable notifications for emoji reactions to messages you've sent. You can find the reaction notifications toggle under Settings > Notifications as a menu option called Reaction Notifications.

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Writing by Maggie Tillman.