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Facebook Messenger set to get more annoying thanks to "streak" feature

Similar to Snapstreaks, the feature looks like it will incentivize pointless messaging.

Published onNovember 23, 2017

Snapchat is the messaging platform that every other messaging platform is looking to for ideas. This, despite recent reports of $443 million in losses and slowing user base growth (yes I know it’s still reasonably popular). While Snap eyes a redesign for its mobile app, Facebook looks like it’s nabbing another one of Snapchat’s current features.

As pointed out by The Verge, Facebook Messenger users have taken to Twitter to announce that they are now seeing Snapchat-like “Streaks” feature when using the service. This appears to be in the testing stages right now, it’s only available to some users, but the functionality is basically the same as Snapchat’s Snapstreak implementation.

Messenger is testing out streak counts… Streak counts really bug me.
— case (@CaseSandberg) November 22, 2017

When Facebook Messenger users message the same contact for two days in a row, a lightning bolt emoji will appear to show that they’re on a streak. Users must then continue to message on a daily basis to maintain the streak or risk losing it.

While the feature may make sense to companies purely from business perspective — i.e. keeping users coming back to their app each day — streaks can frustrate some users because they incentivize messaging for messaging’s sake. It doesn’t matter the context or contents of the conversation, you’re “rewarded” only for taking part. And even though the reward of an emoji next to your conversation might seem hollow (because it is), I’ve read reports of users feeling obligated to maintain it; it can cause unnecessary stress. 

Just because Facebook is testing this feature doesn’t mean it will implement it, however; whether it does will no doubt depend on how users interact with it. So, do us all a favor, and please ignore it, eh?

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