You’re browsing Facebook. Not thinking about anything particularly bubbly. Not looking at ads for soap. Not discussing a certain blue-wearing member of The Powerpuff Girls. When all of a sudden … cartoon bubbles float up from the bottom of your screen. The bubbles appear quick and then they vanish. You look around your office to see if anybody else saw them. The bubbles. Nobody else appears to have just seen onscreen suds, so you consult Twitter. Phew, I’m not going crazy, you think to yourself seeing tweets from a dozen or so other people who also had bubbles float across their Facebook screens in the last 24 hours. Or if you are, going crazy that is, at least you’re not going it alone.
“Why did bubbles just float up on my screen on Facebook,” a colleague asked me at work. I asked if they had typed anything; typing “congrats” will prompt Facebook to dump animated confetti on your screen. “I didn’t type anything. I was just scrolling on my feed,” the colleague explained, adding the animated bubbles were a transparent blue and came and went too quickly for her to grab a screenshot.
“It happened to me twice. The first time it scared the crap out of me because I wasn’t expecting it; the second time I was more annoyed.
I was on my work desktop,” Allyn Gibson told me via DM. “I was scrolling down through my feed. In both cases I would say that the Status Update box had scrolled off the screen. Suddenly, without any warning, a flurry of transparent blue bubbles, 15 or 20 of them, maybe about an inch across, exploded from the bottom of my screen and floated to the top.” On Twitter, some users have posited theories as to why they saw the bubbles on their screens. “I stopped to read a post about ‘popping bubbles,’” tweeted one user.
A Facebook representative told Select All the animation was tied to the first day of spring for users in the United States. “People will have received a message with a Spring-themed animation of a person blowing bubbles in a field,” the spokesperson said. “The bubbles may animate across the entire News Feed.” Something which, clearly, did not clearly translate to the user experience.
Don’t worry, guys. Facebook is still scrambling to figure out what to do with that whole Cambridge Analytica — the company announced it will be conducting a forensic audit — thing, but at least you might be getting bubbles!