WhatsApp message reactions have been spotted in development on the desktop beta, suggesting the Meta-owned instant messaging service could release the feature in an upcoming update. Message reactions allow users to quickly assign an emoji “reaction” to a message, and are supported on many popular massaging apps, including Facebook and Instagram, also owned by Meta. Meanwhile, WhatsApp is also working on a new shortcut to edit recipients when posting a new Status update, allowing users to specify the audience for each update. There is no word on when these features will be available to all users.
According to a WhatsApp Desktop beta screenshot shared by WhatsApp features tracker WABetaInfo, the platform appears to be working on adding message reactions support to the desktop app. The feature is not currently available for beta testers as it is still under development, according to the tracker. Spotted first in August 2021, message reactions for WhatsApp have reportedly been in development on Android and iOS for months and glimpses of the feature have also surfaced online.
The screenshot of the message reactions feature shows the message reaction button in the form of an emoji icon, next to a message in a chat on WhatsApp Desktop beta. According to WABetaInfo, this button will only appear when moving the cursor over a message. Clicking the reaction button will display a row of six emoji, which can be selected to react to the message. The thumbs up, red heart, face with tears of joy, shocked face, crying face, and folded hands emoji are shown in the screenshot. Meanwhile Instagram and rival messaging service Signal offer the ability to react with any emoji.
In December, WhatsApp was spotted working on updating the caption bar, allowing users to select different recipients for an image or video while inside a WhatsApp chat, or share it as a Status update. The messaging service is now working on improving the ability to share an image as a Status with a new privacy shortcut, according to a report by the feature tracker.
Users who click an image and tap the Status button from inside a WhatsApp chat, will also be able to see and select the audience for that Status before posting it. These include three options: My contacts, My contacts except, and Only share with…, according to a screenshot shared by the feature tracker.
While the message reactions feature for the desktop app and the new privacy shortcut for Status updates were spotted on beta versions of WhatsApp Desktop and WhatsApp for Android, respectively, these features are currently under development. This means that users will not be able to access them until they are enabled first in the beta versions of the app, and later on the stable channel. WhatsApp is yet to announce details of both features.