Facebook has developed a new feature with a distinctly retro flavour.
The social network is trying to get users to post more text-only status updates.
It’s started testing a new “temporary profile status” feature, which lets users post updates that automatically disappear after a set amount of time.
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The feature, which was spotted by a user who shared a screenshot with BuzzFeed, is a nod to Facebook’s early days, when the News Feed was filled with text updates rather than the videos and articles that dominate it today.
The modern twist – that they self-destruct – is almost certainly inspired by Snapchat, which Facebook has copied on numerous occasions over the past year.
The temporary updates have an upper limit of 101 characters, and users can set an expiration date for them and choose whether they appear in the News Feed or just their profile.
As it’s currently in testing though, it’s not available for everyone to use just yet.
The feature is like a pared-down version of Facebook Stories, the ephemeral photo- and video-sharing tool that sits right on top of the News Feed.
Unusually, while Stories has proven extremely popular on Instagram and WhatsApp, it appears to have completely flopped on Facebook.
According to a recent report, Facebook is struggling to keep young people engaged with the site.
They’re logging into Facebook less frequently, spending less and less time on it and even quitting it altogether, while favouring the likes of Snapchat and Instagram.