Poke You! (Not!) Facebook Quietly Minimizes Poking

Can you find a poke button on Facebook?

Facebook has quietly tucked this feature into a pull-down menu in the right-hand corner of profiles.

The label for this menu consists only of a gear icon and a down arrow.

I first noticed this change around the time of the subscribe button, but suspect it actually may have kicked in with Facebook’s creation of smart friend lists and the movement of privacy controls to the site where people post content into the news feed.

And there’s a very good reason why I’ve yet to pinpoint exactly when this happened: Many of us poke in response to a notification on the homepage rather than clicking the button on the recipient’s profile.

Many of us have ongoing poke volleys going with a set of people on Facebook, some of these exchanges dating back years.

Sure, there’s always a first poke in such an exchange, plus we tend to go directly to someone’s profile page and click if we haven’t gotten a response to our last poke.

It’s very telling that the poke option now appears in the same menu as suggest friends and report/block.

Women who don’t use Facebook’s privacy settings on the site — limiting visibility in search results, restricting who can send you messages or friend requests, and making photos less visible — tend to receive pokes from unfamiliar faces, although this happens less than it used to.

Alas, the volume of unwanted pokes seems directly proportionate to a female recipient’s attractiveness and youth, among those who don’t restrict their profiles already.

So moving the poke option to the same pull-down menu as suggest friends and report/block is very consistent with Facebook’s recent relocation of various privacy controls to the specific sites where they’re needed.

Readers, how do you use the poking feature on Facebook? Are you less likely to initiate a poke now that it’s tucked into a pull-down menu?

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