Facebook is testing a new "temporary profile status" feature that will allow its users to post ephemeral, text-only updates of up to 101 characters, a company spokesperson confirmed to BuzzFeed News Tuesday.
Facebook began testing the new feature globally over the past week. The 'new' statuses, which you can also keep permanently, are reminiscent of the early days of Facebook, when the company's News Feed was blanketed with status updates instead of videos, links and advertisements you see today.
Before they became "posts," Facebook statuses all began with an "is" (as in "Alex is jogging"), giving them a timely feel, and Facebook seems to be trying to bring some of that back with a "temporary profile status" feature.
“We're testing an update that lets people set a temporary status on their profile to let friends know what they're doing or feeling in the moment," a Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. "People have the option to set an expiration date for the status and choose whether or not it appears in News Feed or only on their profile.”
Last year, Facebook scrambled to fix an "original sharing" decline after it discovered people were posting less on its platform. The addition of Facebook Live and later what was essentially a copy of Snapchat Stories have tempered that problem some, but the company's main product still never regained that raw, fun feeling it had in its early days. The addition of ephemeral status updates could be one, small step towards bringing it back.
Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.
Contact Alex Kantrowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.