Facebook has a habit of copping features from other apps and dropping them into Messenger, so the addition of message reactions and @-mentions in the social network's marquee messaging app was probably inevitable as the company slowly merges features across it's products. Like iMessage, Slack and regular old Facebook comment threads, you can now react to individual messages or tag a friend to get their attention in group chats.
Message reactions work exactly as they do in iMessage -- you just press and hold a message to bring up Facebook's set of seven basic love/laugh/cry emoji. For anyone keeping score, a small counter will tally up the reactions and show you who in the chat is showering you with all these emoji. Of course, everything gets a playful animation and its own notification on the lock screen.
Mentions should seem pretty familiar as well: start typing @ and you'll bring up a list of people in the chat. Tag a name and that user will get a special notification letting them know they've been called out.
Mentions and Reactions began rolling out to users today, and they should be available to everyone in the next few days. And for companies using Facebook Workplace, the same features will be available in Work Chat.