How To Find Who Has Added You On Their Close Friends List
According to TechCrunch, Facebook is working on its own version of Instagram Close Friends. Many individuals avoid sharing on Facebook because it may seem dangerous or uncomfortable, especially since the definition of “friends” has expanded to encompass relatives, coworkers, and distant acquaintances. Nobody wants their employer or grandmother to find out about their weekend partying or risqué memes. There are certain kinds of sharing that seem unsettling to expose to such a large audience, such as Snapchat's Snap Map-style live location monitoring.
Micro sharing is something that the social network has to get a grip on. Yet, throughout the years, Facebook has attempted and failed to persuade users to create Friend Lists in order to publish to various subsets of their network.
In 2011, Facebook claimed that 95% of its users had not created a single list. As a result, it attempted automatically categorizing individuals into Smart Lists like High School Friends and Coworkers, as well as offering manual Always-See-In-Feed Close Friends and Only-See-Important-Updates Acquaintances lists. However, in the last eight years, they, too, have seen minimal traction and few product upgrades. Last year, Facebook disabled Friend Lists Feeds, which allowed users to see what specific groups of friends had shared.
Instagram then achieved a breakthrough a year ago. It created a single Close Friends list with a dedicated button for sharing to them from Stories, rather than a complex array of Friend Lists you'd never remember who was on. According to Instagram's study, 85 percent of a user's Direct messages are sent to the same three individuals, so why not make it simpler for Stories users to communicate with their friends without having to create a group thread? “I'm surprised Facebook doesn't already have its own Close Friends function, and it'd be wise to create one,” I wrote last month.
How to Use Facebook Favorites
Facebook is currently testing a feature called Favorites that is similar to Instagram Close Friends. It allows users to select certain friends as Favorites, and then send them their Facebook Story or a camera-based post directly from Messenger, each in their own chat thread.
Jane Manchon Wong, a reverse engineering expert and regular TechCrunch tipper, was the first to notice the functionality within Messenger. The code that allowed Wong to create the screenshots (above) of this unannounced functionality is buried in the Android app. They demonstrate how, while sharing a Story or camera post from Messenger, users may send it via chat to everyone on their Favorites list, and modify who's on that list by manually adding up to 10 people or using algorithmic recommendations. For the time being, Favorites does not have the same capability as Instagram Close Friends when it comes to sharing Stories, but you can see Facebook extending Favorites to include similar feature in the future.
[Update: Facebook first said that Favorites was for sharing via Stories, but subsequently clarified that postings are delivered to Favorites through Messenger.]
This functionality is a prototype developed by the Messenger team, according to a Facebook spokesman. It's a preliminary look at the micro sharing potential, and the functionality isn't being tested publicly or internally with workers. The Favorites function, according to the spokesperson, is a kind of shortcut for sharing with a particular group of individuals. They tell me that Facebook is constantly looking for new ways to share, and that this year's F8 conference focused on enhancing the experience of sharing with and keeping in touch with your closest friends.
Unlocking the ability to share in a creepier way
If a Favorites feature is ever implemented, Facebook may reap a slew of advantages. First, if users can make material accessible just to their closest friends, they will be more likely to share it since they will not be irritated by over-posting. Second, Facebook may see a surge in new, more personal kinds of material being posted, ranging from the emotional and vulnerable to the funny and spontaneous to the raunchy and startling— content that individuals don't want every single person they've ever accepted a friend request from to view. Favorites have the potential to decrease self-censorship.
“No one has ever mastered the graph of close friends and made it simple to understand…” When Instagram introduced Close Friends last year, its director of product Robby Stein told me, “People receive friend invitations and they feel pressured to accept.” “The curve is that your sharing increases as you add more people, and as you add more people, more people may react to you. However, there comes a point when sharing is reduced over time.” Google+, Path, and other applications have all perished in the pursuit of this very selective micro sharing habit.
Facebook Favorites has the potential to encourage a lot of sharing of material that is unique to its network, resulting in increased use. After all, Facebook said in April that it had 500 million daily Stories users across Facebook and Messenger, which is the same as Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status.
Before launching Close Friends, Instagram trialed the functionality under the moniker Favorites, which enabled you to share feed posts and Stories with a specific group of individuals. Last month, Instagram introduced Threads, a messaging app for close friends only that allows you post your Auto-Status about where you are or what you're doing.
Similarly, Facebook Favorites may open up whole new avenues to interact. After 15 years of privacy controversies, Facebook can't follow certain applications like Snapchat down more privacy-centric product routes since it knows consumers are already concerned. From Twitter's interest graph to Tok-tok’s public entertainment fandoms to Snapchat's messaging threads with besties, apps designed for publishing to other graphs than Facebook have been some of the few social businesses that have thrived outside of its empire.
A capable and popular Facebook Favorites may allow it to experiment with products in areas like as location, memes, performances, Q&A, messaging, live streaming, and more. It could develop its own version of Instagram Threads, allowing users to share their precise location with Favorites rather than simply the neighborhood they're in with Nearby Friends, or create a specialized meme resharing site, similar to the LOL project for teenagers that was shut down. It could, at the absolute least, connect with Instagram Close Friends, allowing you to syndicate Instagram posts to your Facebook Favorites.
The whole idea of Favorites is in line with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's vision for social networking, which emphasizes privacy. He adds, “Many individuals prefer the intimacy of conversing one-on-one or with a small group of friends.” Facebook can't simply be a catch-all social network where we check in once in a while to see what our friends are up to. It must be a place where people return every day to get genuine with their closest friends if it is to last another 15 years. Less is sometimes more.