Facebook Wants Pokes to Become a Thing Again

After 20 years, Facebook still matters, although mainly to people of a certain age. The TikTok generation has its own thing going on (which now includes freaking out over the platform possibly going poof in the U.S.). Perhaps to capture its former glory, Meta’s flagship social network is bringing back one of its original signature features: Pokes.

And the younger set is here for it.

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In a Threads post on Tuesday, Facebook gushed about the comeback of its digital finger tap, sharing that “The poke is having a moment. There’s been a 13x spike in poking on Facebook in the past month.”

Facebook pokes used to be fun or flirtatious — or annoying, depending on one’s point of view — but either way, they became something of a hallmark of early social media’s growing digital culture. That was years ago, though, and the platform all but buried it over time. Then recently, Facebook decided to dust it off, and it’s now highlighting pokes again. There’s a new dedicated suggestion page filled with pokeable contacts, including improved recommendations, and the developers made it easier for users to search and find it. In case no one actually does that, there’s also a new poke interface that will show up when people search for friends.

The tweaks appear to be working. Even better, at least for Facebook, this resurging popularity isn’t just nostalgia from older users. The 18- to 29-year-old set seems to be poking at a furious rate, it said, accounting for more than half of the behavior.

Not a bad way for Facebook, which was founded in 2004, to shake its perception as the elder statesman of social media. And, like fashion, it looks like digital culture has learned that what’s old can be new again. Especially for a fresh audience.

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