Facebook Messenger adds support for shortcuts so users can send silent messages, GIFs and more

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Facebook Messenger has released a new set of features called Shortcuts using commands on the messaging service. Users on iOS and Android smartphones can now issue commands in the chat window to perform various tasks, such as notify everyone in a group or send a message silently without notifying other users. They can also send GIFs and ASCII emoticons on Facebook Messenger. Reminiscent of MSN Messenger’s hidden “Easter Egg” commands, the new features are designed to make certain tasks on Messenger easier by using one-word commands.

Meta’s messaging service revealed on Tuesday that it was rolling out Shortcuts for Facebook Messenger on Android and iOS, which will be available starting today. The Shortcuts feature now allows users to type @everyone to send a notification to all users in the chat. The command can be used to draw group members’ attention to a post that asks a question, or as a reminder of an older post.

Users can also use Shortcuts on Messenger to message a user or group without notifying them, using the /silent command. Messages sent with this command will not notify the user of the message, which can be useful when you message friends in different time zones without disturbing them. The ability to send messages silently without disturbing the recipient can also be found on rival messaging service Telegram, which introduced the feature in 2019.

Messenger also announced upcoming support for a shortcut to send GIFs, arriving first on iOS
Photo credit: Facebook

It’s worth noting that certain Facebook Messenger features announced earlier this year have yet to be enabled for all users of the service. In January, the company announced an improved messaging experience for users in Secret Conversations mode, which uses end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for chats. These features include screenshot alerts, emoji responses, and the Vanish mode, announced ahead of the company’s planned date to use E2EE for all chats on Messenger.

Asked about the delay in the rollout of these features, head of Messenger Loredana Crisan told Gadgets 360 that some of these features were tested for stability by the company before rolling out to all regions.

Both the /silent and @everyone Shortcuts are available today for Facebook Messenger users on iOS and Android devices, the company said. Meanwhile, the company is also working on adding the ability to search and send GIFs to users and groups on Messenger using the /gif command. Users can also use /shrug and /tableflip commands to send tableflip “(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻” and shrug “¯_(ツ)_/¯” emoticons on Messenger.

These three commands will be available to users on iOS devices in the coming weeks. Messenger users in the US will also be able to send and receive money using the /pay command in the future, the company said.

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