It seems like every time another social app comes out with any feature that’s even the slightest bit useful, Facebook is like ‘we can do that too’, doesn’t it?
Last week, some Facebook users began seeing this new prompt appear within their posting process:
That’s right, as per this example posted by Varon Kerolli (and shared by Matt Navarra), Facebook is working on a new ‘Threads’ option, which would provide a means to bolt on additional new posts to an original, in order to build a broader contextual story through your updates.
As you can see, each new post added to your Facebook post thread would be connected back to the original, creating a longer stream of updates aligned to a source announcement.
Which is exactly like Twitter’s threads, which it introduced back in 2017, enabling users to add more context to their tweets, and even build a narrative flow within its short-form constraints.
Which makes a lot more sense on Twitter, given the character constraints – but then again, Facebook says that it’s aiming for a slightly different focus with its Threads option, which it confirmed to TechCrunch is now in testing with selected public figures.
“Rather than inspiring longer posts, Facebook threads could be used for live commentary on an event like an award show. Or, users could post updates to their existing posts in a thread, rather than updating the original and making a clunky “edited to add…” announcement. Given that Facebook is testing this feature with public figures, perhaps its intended use is to make the sharing of news more streamlined.”
That makes some sense, but the way they’re displayed, in an expanded post stream, could be problematic, particularly if every user is eventually able to share ongoing updates about their everyday happenings.
But that does depend on how Facebook chooses to display them – if Facebook only shows the first additional post in each thread, as opposed to an elongated stream in your feed, that could work, and it could be helpful, as Facebook notes, for evolving news events, making it easier for people to follow along with an updating stream in a post, which is similar to how many news outlets currently cover breaking news in a live text stream.
It may make sense – and even though it’s just Facebook copying a cool feature from another app once again, the case here does have practical, potentially valuable application.
As noted, right now, Facebook is only testing the option with a small group of public figures, with no set plans for a full roll out. You would think that Facebook would take a staged approach if it does look to expand it, which would see it go to all public figures, and probably Pages, before coming to regular users.
That could open up new options for brands, particularly as Facebook looks to move into live shopping events and other forms of community engagement.