Leveraging FOMO Psychology: Facebook Is Testing ‘Read By Your Friends’ Tags On Shared Articles

When it comes to gathering engagement, Facebook never misses any chance. Being the social media giant, it is trying all sorts of tricks to make people use the platform even more. This time Mark and his team has taken advantage of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), as with recent minor changes in the appearance of shared articles on Facebook, users will get a small notification/tag on top of the title claiming ‘Read by your friends’. This addition is similar to WeChat's “original articles read by friends” feature.

So now, in case, if your friends are reading something, you will be notified automatically by just going through the articles in your newsfeed. As noted by Andrew Hutchinson on Social Media Today, this psychological hack by Facebook will of course tempt you to read the article and never miss out on any conversation going around you. That’s indeed engagement at its best!

The only drawback, however is, you can't click on the note to see which friends, specifically, have read it. You will have to continue with an assumption that someone within your friend’s circle was interested in it.

Facebook is repeatedly boasting off a constant increment in the number of active users on platform but surveys are proving out to be the opposite, where users no longer trust Facebook with their personal information and how they want to stay connected in the social media world. While it is difficult to know the truth behind screens, there is a probability that people might have preferred to lessen down the time spent on the app after privacy scandals, as Facebook’s obsession lately has also been about increasing engagement, majorly.
We are still not sure whether this will get more clicks or not, for Facebook and publishers, but the tactic certainly has potential to boost Facebook referral traffic, especially for highly shared content.

With Facebook having nearly 2.32 Billion users worldwide, editorial decisions are constantly evolving in order to create value of content with Facebook’s comments and shares. If this feature works in the right way, it will assist users more in identifying topics which are generating discussions, even if they don’t read much, thus being a win-win situation for everyone.

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