Facebook Messenger introduces Slack-like shortcuts so you can ping everyone all at once
Will you use this @everyone power for good or evil?
Shortcuts are an important part of all the best chat apps out there, and Facebook Messenger is no different. It has long given users the ability to tag a specific person in a group by typing “@” followed by their name. But the Meta-owned app is taking things to a whole new level with an “@everyone” option exactly like Slack, alongside several other new in-text shortcuts.
Meta announced that two shortcuts, @everyone and /silent, started rolling out to Messenger users on iOS and Android yesterday. If you use Slack, you should be familiar with @everyone, though it works just a little different in Messenger. In Slack, it’s a simple shortcut that lets you ping everyone in your company, either to get their attention while announcing a new workflow or seek help with something quickly. On Messenger, the shortcut will only notify everyone within a group chat, not all of the people you’re connected with on Facebook. However, it’s still a powerful feature arriving on a platform that’s traditionally been used for keeping in touch with friends and family, so we can only hope you use it responsibly.
Meanwhile, using the /silent shortcut when sending a message in a group chat creates the opposite effect to @everyone. The group’s members will not receive any notification, allowing them to get to trivial or unimportant posts at their leisure — it’s also handy for groups where the participants reside in diverse time zones.
Meta says it has a few more shortcuts currently in the works that should arrive in the coming weeks. /pay will allow you to send or request money in one-on-one Messenger chats just by typing the simple command. The shortcut will roll out to iOS and Android in the US.
The company’s also releasing a few iOS-specific functionalities geared towards visual communicators. The “/gif’ shortcut will help you find and send spot-on reactions by typing the command followed by your chosen topic without leaving your chatbox.
However, if you feel like nothing conveys your expression as much as the classic text-based shrug “¯\_(ツ)_/¯” or tableflip “(╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻” emoticons, Meta’s got you covered. Simply typing in /shrug or /tableflip will let you add either, removing the need to type them out or copy them from elsewhere. It’ll be interesting to see if the GIF and emoticon shortcuts come to Messenger for Android sometime later.
Messenger isn’t the first personal messaging app to receive powerful shortcuts like these. While Telegram doesn’t have a powerful @everyone shortcut for group chats, it does allow for pinning messages, which has the same effect, notifying everyone in the chat. Telegram has also long supported @gif shortcuts for quick GIF creations, and you can augment your chats with other / enabled bots for even more automatization.