"We are rolling out support for animated GIFs in News Feed. You can share more fun, expressive things with your friends on Facebook," a spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Facebook had always avoided supporting GIFs, claiming that doing so would make its News Feed "too chaotic".

To try the new feature, Facebook users can paste a link to a GIF hosted on an external website such as Giphy, Imgur, Tumblr, or elsewhere, into their status update box and then publish.

GIFs will auto-play on the Facebook with your current video autoplay settings. If you choose to disable autoplay in your settings, you can tap or click a GIF to play it instead.

The move to support the format now points a significant change in Facebook's strategy. Instead of allowing GIFs, Facebook's focus had been on video, as it introduced support for auto-playing videos in late 2013.

Till last year, when Twitter allowed GIFs, Facebook did not budge from its stand. Though Facebook had built in support for GIFs for quite some time, the company had felt that GIFs could lead to the site being cluttered with low-quality memes.