Facebook Plans to Add Image Polls to Questions Application

Facebook plans to update its Questions application to allow for the creation of polls with images as answer choices. Director of Product Blake Ross answered a user’s Facebook Question about the current lack of this functionality, saying “You can’t do this right now, but you’ll be able to in a few weeks.” Users will be able to let friends and the public vote on polls such as “which car looks cooler?”, “which furniture arrangement makes my living room more inviting?”, or maybe even “which person is more attractive?”

Currently, users can only place a single photo in the description of a Question, and poll answers must be text. User can simulate the functionality of the forthcoming update by using URLs of images as poll answers, though they won’t be hyperlinked.

An advantage of Facebook Questions over other question & answer services is the ease with which one can get answers from those whose opinions they respect, namely one’s friends. This update will further personalize the application because users will be able to take photos of themselves and their surroundings and quickly get their friends’ opinions on them. Polls which used to have to happen in real-time over webcam or in person, such as “which outfit is more appropriate for a job interview?” will be able to happen asynchronously and with a wider pool of voters. However, this might lead to the creation of Questions with less universal value than generalizable Questions like “What’s the best Peruvian restaurant in San Francisco”.

While at Harvard, Mark Zuckerberg created an image-based attractiveness polling system called Facemash as a precursor to Facebook. The product brought him attention for how quickly its user-base and traffic grew, but also got him in trouble with the university. Seven years later Facemash’s functionality officially returns to Facebook — sort of — but it will be the users who decide what to do with it.

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