(Carey Wedler) Some Facebook users might have noticed a new feature on Facebook: the social media platform asking personal questions. As one Gizmodo headline put it, “Facebook has some intensely thirsty questions for you.”
by Carey Wedler, December 11th, 2017
The fill-in-the-blank questions, which include innocuous topics like “The superpower I want most is…” and “Mondays make me feel like…” appears to be an off-shoot of the company’s recent acquisition of an app called tbh, which gained massive popularity among kids and teens this year for its focus on positivity. It allows users to take polls that focus on the positive qualities of their peers.
Rather than simply copying the app’s features like it did with Snapchat and it’s addition of Instagram “stories,” Facebook actually acquired tbh, bringing its employees on as Facebook employees and allowing it to continue running as is. According to a statement from tbh:
“When we met with Facebook, we realized that we shared many of the same core values about connecting people through positive interactions. Most of all, we were compelled by the ways they could help us realize our vision and bring it to more people.”
Facebook echoed a similar sentiment, focusing on community in a statement to TechCrunch:
“tbh and Facebook share a common goal — of building community and enabling people to share in ways that bring us closer together. We’re impressed by the way tbh is doing this by using polling and messaging, and with Facebook’s resources tbh can continue to expand and build positive experiences.”
While some of the questions do appear to focus on uplifting users, the most apparent shift from tbh to Facebook’s iteration of the questions is from users’ friends to themselves, and it may not be just for positive reinforcement. As Gizmodo notes, some of the questions “seem of obvious use in marketing—like asking about users’ favorite sports teams, what their hidden talents are, [and] what they would buy if they won the lottery…”
TechCrunch observed that the new features appear to be “the early stages of something that could lead to more sophisticated advertiser profiles, but at the moment the questions are honestly pretty hokey.”
The outlet also suggested that Facebook is “obviously looking to explore how it can goad users to get more comfortable answering questions about themselves and their friends.”
This is not the first time Facebook has been under suspicion of using sneaky marketing tactics. The company has highly detailed profiles on its users, and some users have claimed ads appear in their feeds after they merely speak out loud about a product they might like the purchase, an allegationFacebook has vehemently denied.
As far as the acquisition of tbh and the launch of Facebook’s new questions go, however, the tbh app has recently tanked in popularity. As Techcrunch wrote,“It’s obvious why they would want to build this type of relationship, but whether they’ll find success with apps like tbh and this new profile feature remains a bit unclear.”
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