Facebook has added a new icon to News Feed posts to indicate whether the user is available to chat.
If a user is online, a green dot will appear next to their name along with their post. Users can click the green dot to open up a chat window and start a conversation. This could encourage users to start private messages with friends after they see one of their posts in the feed.
For now the feature applies to News Feed posts but not those on a user’s Timeline.
Facebook is putting increasing emphasis on its chat and messaging system. The new mobile Chat Heads feature in Facebook Home and Messenger makes it easier for users to read and respond to messages even when they’re in the middle of other tasks on their phone. This latest desktop feature also deeper integrates chat into another popular activity: browsing News Feed.
Some users with the new News Feed are also seeing two chat menus, one on the left and one on the right, as seen in the image below from AllFacebook writer Justin Lafferty. Names have been blocked out with white and black, but you can see the chat list in both the left-hand sidebar and in a window on the right. This duplicate functionality may just be a temporary bug.