Twitter today revealed a way to fast forward and rewind animated GIFs shared on its platform, a social media creation the company calls "ScratchReel." The feature works on the web and on Twitter's mobile apps, and Twitter appears to have been surfacing these images in beta tests for weeks now. You can't check it out here within an embedded Twitter post — you have to click through — but when you move your mouse cursor or finger from left to right and back again on the moving image, you can control the animation.
The feature is possible thanks to a startup called SnappyTV, which Twitter acquired in June 2014. SnappyTV essentially lets organizations take live broadcasts and chop them up, remix them, and employ fun video tricks so the clips are more popular on social media. Twitter's example used a live broadcast of a surfer to show off ScratchReels, but you can imagine any number of big-name brands turning commercials into interactive advertisements. It's unclear if Twitter will bring the ability to make ScratchReels to everyday users.