A new “plane” reaction appeared on Facebook yesterday. But the company says it was an error, and it’s not here to stay.
Have you noticed something different on your Facebook posts? A new reaction was suddenly available. Only some Android users could use it, but everyone on Facebook could see it. And this was strange, not for one, but two reasons: first, a plane? Seriously? What could that possibly even mean as a reaction? And also, Facebook has repeatedly made it clear that it would no longer be adding any new reactions.
This little plane fueled a lot of speculation on and off Facebook yesterday. What was it about? What did it mean? Was it a new feature Facebook was either testing out or getting ready to launch? Why did only a few select users get it?
The answer is in fact simple. As with many other things, it was a mistake. A glitch that should have never happened, the result of a hackathon gone wrong, as confirmed by a Facebook spokesperson: “This was created as part of an employee hackathon and wasn’t cleared for takeoff. Our apologies.”
No matter how or where it came from, the little plane did its job. It got people talking; it got people smiling. And that was not a bad thing on the day Facebook announced that “some people” had been trying to use the platform to influence Mid-term elections in the US.