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Facebook is reviving one of its earliest features after hiding it for years

Katie Notopoulos   

Facebook is reviving one of its earliest features after hiding it for years
  • Facebook's Poke feature has been largely hidden for the past few years, but it's coming back.
  • Meta says Pokes surged after it quietly resurfaced the Poke button.

Facebook is bringing back the Poke, and, apparently, Gen Z is loving it.

Technically, the Poke never fully left; it was just hidden deep, deep, deep within a bunch of settings that you'd need a pith helmet and satellite phone to reach. (Or you'd need to type "poke" into the Facebook search bar or somehow know the Poke page's exact URL).

Meta said it made a design tweak at the start of 2024 that made the Poke button slightly more visible. The new design would surface the button alongside any name that a user searched. That encouraged people to actually use the button (UI designers may not be surprised that when a button exists vs. doesn't exist, people tend to click it more).

Meta said Pokes went up 13 times after this design change. (It declined to share an exact number of how many Pokes were generated daily.)

Meta also made it easier to find the Poke page (you can now get it by typing "poking" or "pokes" in the search bar instead of just "poke"). In 2017, there was a small attempt to bring back the Poke by putting it on profile pages, but the trend didn't catch back on. Too soon, perhaps.

Surprisingly, Meta said over 50% of new Pokes were made by users ages 18 to 29. These Gen Zers and young millennials were probably too young to be on Facebook during the Poke's original heyday.

Poke was one of Facebook's earliest signature features, launched even before the News Feed. Poking fell out of favor at some point. People maybe thought it was creepy or too flirty, or there were just better ways to communicate.

The Poke is a perfect low-effort way to connect with a Facebook friend you haven't seen in a while. It's a little bit nostalgic and surprising, a little cheeky but friendly. And Facebook desperately needs something like that, a way to actually be useful for connecting with people you know IRL.

Go ahead and Poke someone today — you won't regret it (probably).

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