New Facebook Feature Asks for ‘Thoughts and Prayers’

New Facebook Feature Asks for 'Thoughts and Prayers' a laptop in a dark room on a brown table with the facebook logo showing on its screen (Dominic Lipinski/AP)

By Charles Kim | Saturday, 05 June 2021 07:51 PM

You can offer "thoughts and prayers" to others in certain groups on Facebook, the U.K.'s Daily Mail reported.

In an article published Friday, the Mail reported the social media giant is now offering the new feature as an option in select groups where members can post prayers and well wishes to others.

A spokesman told the Mail it soft launched the feature in December as an option for group administrators to turn on for members mainly because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We've seen many faith and spirituality communities using our services to connect, so we're starting to explore new tools to support them," the spokesperson said.

The company said the holiday week of Easter in 2020 saw the largest increase in group video calls on its messenger service, and the most popular weeks for its live broadcasts.

Some people are skeptical of the company's motivation for offering the service, and wonder if it will help them target advertising better.

"Prayer is for self-reflection, connecting with God, and now for Facebook to better target its ads," one person wrote on Twitter.

Facebook has been looked at by several Congressional committees for information it collects from users, the article said.

Religious news outlets, like Religionnews.com covered the new feature in April.

"Our mission to give people the power to build community extends to the world's largest community; the faith community," Nona Jones, head of Global Faith Partnerships at Facebook, said in a written statement to Religion News. "As a local church pastor with my husband, I know very well how disruptive the last year has been for people of faith and the houses of worship that serve them. This is why we are committed to finding ways to build the tools that help people connect to hope on Facebook."

Enough people hearing about the feature thought it was a joke, so the Snopes fact-checking website listed the feature in an article declaring it "true."