July 12, 2012 at 12:51 PM ET
You may have heard that Facebook's telling people which posts you've read within a Group recently. And if that didn't seem unnerving enough, it turns out that the feature related to this news is a bit deceptive — in a rather pesky way.
Confused? No worries — it might be because you aren't among the lucky few who are getting to try out Facebook's new "read receipt" feature. The social network frequently test-drives new features by enabling them for a small — supposedly randomly chosen — group of people before unleashing them onto the general social network population. A "read receipt" on posts made in Groups is one of the new features being tested right now, according to Facebook's news page.
Here's how these read receipts work.
As soon as someone posts something within a Facebook Group (and at least one person views that post), a checkmark icon and count appear next to the post. The count will — quite obviously — represent the number of people who have seen the post. Anyone who is able to see the post is also able to hover his or her mouse over the checkmark icon and view a list of the people who've seen the post and when they've looked at it.
That's slightly awkward and potentially annoying, but you could live with it — right?
Well, there's a little problem though: The actions which make Facebook consider a post to be "read."
You see, you will be included on the read receipt of a post if you've clicked on it in your Newsfeed (or Ticker), liked it, or commented on it. Or happened to just open the Group page on which the post is located.
Whoops! That last part's where things get tricky. Just visiting a Group page shouldn't make it look as if you've read every post on it. After all, maybe you just looked at the first post or maybe you just visited the Group page for a moment, without even looking around.
There's no way of opting out of using the read receipt feature nor is there an administrator setting which could be used to turn it off.
There is good news though: Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Facebook frequently simply tests out features like this. They don't always wind up being something that's pushed out to everyone in their original state (or at all).
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