Facebook looks to build friend lists with 'Discover People' feature on Apple's iPhone & iPad

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In a bid to encourage new connections between users and keep them engaged with the social network, Facebook is now gradually rolling out a "Discover People" feature across its apps for iOS and Android.

Once available, the option is located in the the app's navigation menu, TechCrunch said. Tapping it prompts a person to update their profile, particularly their bio and featured photos, then browse lists of past and upcoming events, work colleagues, or simply people who live in the same city.

Selecting one of these will show profiles to swipe through one-by-one, each highlighting things in common such as mutual friends and liked pages. Notably, people can't choose to be excluded from "Discover People" — the feature will, however, only show public profile content.

The option was originally tested in Australia and New Zealand towards the end of 2016, but is this week opening up to the broader userbase.

While it could be used for making friends and work/business contacts, it might also be intended for dating, diverting people from apps like Tinder, Bumble, and OKCupid.

That could raise concerns about stalking and harassment, since Facebook users aren't necessarily interested in dating and women are already sometimes subject to unwanted advances on the service.

Facebook is currently trying a number of tactics to cement its position and deter people from using alternatives. It is for instance copying Snapchat's Stories feature, and even preparing a video app for devices like the Apple TV, which might steer people away from similar offerings by Twitter and YouTube.


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