Facebook wants to know if you're dating anyone

Facebook gets flirty with new feature
Facebook gets flirty with new feature

    JUST WATCHED

    Facebook gets flirty with new feature

MUST WATCH

Facebook gets flirty with new feature 00:38

Story highlights

  • Facebook adds "Ask" feature to let users inquire about friends' relationships
  • "Ask" button appears next to info that's not filled out
  • Only friends can inquire, and receiver may respond privately
  • Users can also "Ask" about a friend's job or hometown

There's no "Hey, baby, what's your sign?" button. But if you have a friend with a mysteriously undefined love life, Facebook may have just become a little more like a singles bar at closing time.

A new "Ask" feature lets you ping friends who haven't set their Relationship Status and ask them what's up. Facebook has been quietly rolling out the feature for testing in select countries, including the United States.

Clicking on "Ask" brings up a dialogue box with the text, "Let (your friend) know why you're asking for (his/her) relationship status." It provides space to expand upon your request -- say, to invite them out for drinks.

A Facebook spokeswoman said that similar "Ask" buttons have been available on mobile and Web for a few months for other profile information.

"This feature provides an easy way for friends to ask you for information that's not already on your profile," Facebook spokeswoman MoMo Zhou said in an e-mail.

New Facebook tool finds your friends
New Facebook tool finds your friends

    JUST WATCHED

    New Facebook tool finds your friends

MUST WATCH

New Facebook tool finds your friends 01:20
PLAY VIDEO
Sheryl Sandberg: Facebook values privacy
Sheryl Sandberg: Facebook values privacy

    JUST WATCHED

    Sheryl Sandberg: Facebook values privacy

MUST WATCH

Sheryl Sandberg: Facebook values privacy 04:22
PLAY VIDEO

"For example, a friend could ask where you work or for your hometown. If you choose to answer, this information is then added to your profile. By default, only you and your friend can see it, and you also have the option of sharing it with others, too."

Well, that sounds a little less like an overture from someone who's hitting on you. Or for that matter, a Poke.

And, yes, even the relationship-status version presumably will have non-stalkery applications. A friend just checking in. Someone who was at your wedding and offering a gentle reminder for you to update your page.

Or ... you know ... your mom, who remains convinced you're just not trying hard enough to find Mr. or Ms. Right.

As noted, a user may reply to the person who sent the request without updating their status, though they are given an opportunity to do so. And it's surely not lost on Facebook that relationship status is a handy piece of information for advertisers trying to target their ads.

Still, some commenters on Twitter found the new feature a little ... creepy.

"Are you single or taken? Facebook now lets you ask someone out in the most awkward way possible," said Ali Mostofian.