Monday, October 15, 2012

Facebook Groups "Seen by" Feature

The days of lurkers in Facebook groups are so over.

If you are a member of a group on Facebook, then you have probably seen this new feature:

It's the new "Seen by" feature, which displays who has viewed posts on a Facebook group. "Posts" include everything from simple greetings, to photos, and links posted on a group.

Now perhaps this was added by Facebook with good intentions of upgrading user traceability and preventing spam, but if you're someone who just likes to browse through others' posts on your group without actually engaging with them, then you might not like this feature.

Before, you can read posts on groups "privately". By privately, I mean that no one has to know you ever read them. But now, with this new feature, you read something and you wanted to ignore it - say, someone is inviting the group members for a get-together party and you simply didn't want to go - you can't get away by saying you haven't read the post so you weren't able to go. With this new feature, you will feel compelled to somehow reply to the post just because the poster knows you have seen it. No more excuses about not reading the post because the poster will know exactly who has seen it and when. So much for lurking.

On a more positive light, for important group updates, it might be helpful in tracking and knowing if every group member has seen it and have become aware of the news. But really, that's all I can think of in the "positive" light.

If you ask me, I would say this new feature isn't all that bad. But - there's a but - it would be really nice if Facebook provides users an option to disable/enable this feature because currently, it is added there by default and you can't disable it. Sneaking it in by default really caught users by surprise and they are not happy.


  1. Doesn't work reliably anyway.

  2. Can't see it is legal as regards user privacy.