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Facebook now publishes pokes to the news feed

Previously private action made public, Facebook encouraging its users to share with the world

Technology trends and news by Ronny Kerr
April 1, 2010
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/ebe

Facebook pokeIn an increasing effort to make its site more open and to encourage its users to share their news with the world, Facebook will now be publishing all pokes, small gestures of interaction between two users, to the public news feed.

Pokes, little nudges that carry little real meaning, have until now remained private actions that only the pokers involved could know about. After carefully considering exactly how users use the many avenues of communication available to them, however, Facebook determined that allowing users to send each other private messages as well as private pokes was a bit of overkill.

"Out and about with a circle of friends, you would never really poke someone in the group privately or secretly while no one else was looking," writes Ashley Ketchum, chief physical specialist at Facebook. "Pokes are a fun, open, and public social demonstration of affection, so we've altered the way they work on the site to reflect that."

Not only will all future pokes start automatically publishing to users' public news feeds, but all pokes that have taken place over the past few years will be added to the news feed at the exact times they took place. Facebook could face a backlash from users upset over the breach to their privacy, especially since there is currently no way to hide the pokes except by deleting each one individually.

This is just the first of many updates planned for the site that will bring a new dimension of realness to the popular social networking site. For example, Facebook in the future will be experimenting with hugs, kisses, and rubs as additional actions users can share with one another (though this would make a few applications obsolete). And in the coming weeks, users will finally be able to "Dislike" things just as easily as they can "Like" them.