In what seems to be an effort on Facebook’s part to stop people using the “Oh, I never noticed the invite” excuse, the social media platform is now piloting a new feature that will allow hosts to check if invitees have seen event invitations or not.
Read receipts are already used in several instant messengers such as WhatsApp and Facebook’s own Messenger app. These notifications are also used in Facebook group messages, which show when each member has viewed a post. Facebook provides no option to turn off read receipts, although users can get around them by using certain browser extensions and apps.
"We’re piloting the ability for private event hosts and guests to know whether their friends they invited have seen the event," a Facebook person told the Daily Dot.
This is what Facebook’s new friendship destruction device (event read receipts) looks like pic.twitter.com/Nv1IZfnCJ6— Daniel Victor (@bydanielvictor) September 14, 2015
The new feature is only in the piloting stage right now, so it may be a while before it rolls out. It’s been speculated that Facebook could start introducing read receipts to more areas of its platform such as comments, friend requests and wall posts. The company has declined to comment on if it plans to expand the program.
The move is thought to be part of Facebook’s effort to attract more users to the events feature. At the company’s second quarter earnings call in July, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that over 450 million Facebook users - out of a potential 1 billion - create events each month.
The news comes in the wake of Facebook’s announcement that it will soon introduce a ‘dislike’ button to the site. Zukerberg said it will allow users to express empathy toward people’s posts, but some fear it may add more animosity to the platform.