The middle-of-the-night profile stalking, the under-the-dinner-table scrolling, the should-be-paying-attention-in-this-meeting feed trawling, that’s always been just between you and Facebook. But that could be about to change.
A number of iOS users have spotted Facebook testing an ‘activity status’ feature that would serve up your usage habits to your followers, plain and clear.
According to screenshots taken by Mashable and others shared to Twitter, when someone involved in the testing is looking at the app, the word ‘Active’ appears on their profile and a small green dot lights up beside their name in comments. But it’s the secondary element of this that has people cringing.
Wait for it….
If you’re currently not online, your profile will display how long it’s been since you last were. Down to the minute.
If you’re having a sudden, unpleasant flashback to the MySpace era, that’s because a similar ‘activity status’ feature was used on the briefly-popular, mid-2000s social network. And no one liked it then, either.
Of course, it is a thing on Facebook Messenger, too, but the possibility of it making the leap to the main app is substantially more unsettling. At least on the former it serves a purpose – to indicate whether someone will likely see your message, or if you should probably just pick up the telephone and, you know, actually call them.
But in this case, all it means is that you will no longer be able to deny your social media addiction. Because it’s only a matter of time before someone will notice that your ‘Active X mins ago’ count rarely reaches double digits.
(That was meant to be a secret, Zuckerberg! Is nothing sacred anymore? Huh? HUH?)
According to Mashable, the feature is only viewable to people in your network, so strangers won’t be able to suss your scrolling habits.
It’s also unclear whether Facebook intends to roll it out to everyone and, if it does, whether there will be an option to disable it.
In the meantime, all we can do is wait nervously and take a good, hard look at what we’re doing with our spare time. Yikes.