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'Read Receipts' for Events - Worst Facebook Addition Ever?

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Almost no recent or distant development in social interaction has been quite as unwelcome as the 'read message' notification. Knowing exactly when the second party has read the message you sent is a horrendously effective conduit for social paranoia and it needs to go far away, yet it just seems to keep gaining ground. I hesitate to characterise any aspect of social media as damaging, but this one could easily be endangering people's mental health.

Bearing that in mind, Facebook's decision to add the 'read receipts' function to events might be the single worst addition ever made to the site. Using it, people can actually see when someone has read their event invitation, but not yet responded to it. Why on earth anyone would find that in any way useful is utterly beyond me. There isn't even any opt out for things like this, which is odd, since even the Facebook-owned WhatsApp allows you to switch off the 'read messages' feature.


Even before being fully implemented, people are already being distinctly critical of read receipts, with a New York Times writer aptly describing it as a 'friendship destruction device'. It's difficult to understand exactly what Facebook thought would be the benefit of adding a feature like this, they're claiming that it makes it easier to know who to message to plan things in more detail, but to my mind the events pages already had that base pretty well covered.

The problem with new Facebook features like this is that there never seems to be any kind of focus screening or anything to ascertain whether or not the user base actually want what's being added, it just turns up and then everyone has to be okay with it. There are ways to disable features like this through third party support, like AdBlock plus and Facebook Unseen, but whether or not either one will be applicable to the events version when it comes into effect is unclear.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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'Read Receipts' for Events - Worst Facebook Addition Ever? Reviewed by Callum Davies on Friday, September 18, 2015 Rating: 5

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