Facebook is reinventing decade-old ‘poke’ feature with new set of greetings

Apart from ‘poke’, soon you can send a wink, a high-five, a hug and a wave.

| Updated on: Dec 11 2017, 10:12 IST
Facebook testing new ‘greetings’ features
Facebook testing new ‘greetings’ features (AP)
Facebook testing new ‘greetings’ features
Facebook testing new ‘greetings’ features (AP)

Facebook's 'poke' has existed for more than a decade, though not a lot of us know the real purpose of this feature. Cut to 2017, Facebook is working on a new set of 'greetings' to interact with their friends on the social networking platform. Apart from 'Poke', users will be able to send a wink, high-five, hug and an already existing 'wave' to each other.

According to a report in The Nation, the new features are under trial in select markets such as Britain, Thailand, Australia, Canada, Columbia and France. The new set of greetings will mark the tenth anniversary of the poke.

Under the 'Hello' button on your friend's profile, the new options can be seen by just holding the button. On a desktop, a simple hover over the 'Hello' button will show the alternatives.

These work in a similar way the 'Reactions' on a photo or status work. Facebook introduced the 'Hello' button in June and placed it at the top of people's profiles. The new greetings also have an undo button for an accidental send.

As said earlier, Facebook has always been vague about the purpose of the 'poke' feature. On its help page, Facebook just says, "People can poke their friends or friends of friends on Facebook. When you poke someone, they'll get a notification."

Back in 2007, Facebook acknowledged that 'poke' had no defined purpose at all. "When we created the poke, we thought it would be cool to have a feature without any specific purpose. People interpret the poke in many different ways, and we encourage you to come up with your own meanings," the company told The Guardian.

That said, Facebook already offers a "wave" feature for Messenger. The feature is generally used a replacement for "hello."

The latest update follows the new set of tools announced by Facebook to identify and help users expressing suicidal thoughts. The social networking company said that it will be using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to identify when someone might be expressing thoughts of suicide, including on Facebook Live.

"Facebook is a place where friends and family are already connected and we are able to help connect a person in distress with people who can support them. It's part of our ongoing effort to help build a safe community on and off Facebook," wrote Guy Rosen, Vice President of Product Management at Facebook in a blog post last month.

(With inputs from IANS)

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First Published Date: 11 Dec, 10:11 IST