Facebook Messenger experiments with feature that automatically tells close friends what you’re up to


Facebook Messenger is developing a feature that tells close friends what a user is doing — by hinting at their location or activity — using emojis. — AFP

Facebook Messenger is developing a feature that will automatically tell close friends what you’re doing, from charging the phone, driving or waiting at the airport.

According to a report by TechCrunch, the feature would work by checking a user’s location, accelerometer and battery life to guess what the user is up to.

It would then tack a corresponding emoji to the user’s Messenger profile picture to inform friends.

The tech news website reported that the unreleased feature doesn’t share a user’s exact coordinates, instead utilising emojis to represent locations (like a cinema or cafe), activities (like biking or working out), or battery states (like low-battery or charging).

There was no indication if or when Messenger would launch it, according to the website.

Facebook has been experimenting with similar features since early 2018, having a manual version called Emoji Status, where users choose which emoji to tack onto their profile pic.

This new feature was said to be a copy of the Auto Status feature introduced by Instagram last October, on its companion messenger app Threads.

There, the feature lets users set an emoji on their profile picture manually or let the app automatically set something.

Instagram product management director Robby Stein told TechCrunch that automatically showing that your phone battery was dying or being charged was a useful way of informing friends why you aren’t responding to messages.

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