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Mark Zuckerberg came up with the idea for the Facebook 'poke' feature while he was drunk

Katie Notopoulos   

Mark Zuckerberg came up with the idea for the Facebook 'poke' feature while he was drunk
  • "Poke" is one of Facebook's oldest features, going back to when it was just for college kids.
  • In a 2005 interview, Mark Zuckerberg said he came up with the idea while drunk.

For many of us, the most genius idea we've had while drunk is "we should order pizza." But when a young Mark Zuckerberg over-imbibed, he invented the "poke," the Facebook feature that is both the most creative thing Facebook has done — and one of the creepiest.

The poke was one of the earliest features of Facebook, which Zuckerberg launched in college in 2004 as The Facebook. Poking someone just sends them an alert that the other person gave them a poke. It could be flirty, it could be friendly, it could be just inscrutably weird.

In 2005, when Facebook was still open only to college kids, "CBS Sunday Morning" did a segment about young tech founders, including a young woman who ran a website for camcorder reviews, the creator of the Firefox browser, and a young man named Mark Zuckerberg. In the interview, Zuckerberg describes to the tech journalist David Pogue how Facebook works.

Here's how he describes the poke feature:

There's this feature called poking where you just go to someone's profile and you can poke the person. And, like, what does that do? Nothing. It sends them a message — it's like, "You've been poked."
And you know, like, who cares? I mean, it's like, I thought about it when I was drunk or something. And people really like poking each other for some reason that I don't think anyone can really explain.

Meta declined to comment.

Meanwhile, improbably, the poke is having a comeback.

Facebook made a design tweak to make the poke button more prominent; it had previously been hidden away and almost impossible to find. It also made it easier to find the page where all your pokes live (try searching "pokes" on Facebook).

The result was that poking went up 13-fold in a short period, and mostly by younger Gen Z users who probably weren't on Facebook the first time the poke was popular.


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