What Does It Mean to Poke Someone on Facebook?

Mychelle Blake
Laptop with Facebook page

If you've spent any length of time on Facebook, you may have been "poked" by someone, or you may have wondered what it means to give someone else a poke. A poke is a small application on Facebook that is included with every account.

Does the Facebook Poke Feature Still Exist?

When Facebook first became popular, it was common to see pokes happening frequently. Over time, the feature has become used less than newer features that are more fun and engaging, such as sending animated gifs and stickers. While the poke feature is still available, it's no longer as easy to find on your desktop and mobile account page which has caused many users to believe it's no longer an option.

Reasons to Send a Poke on Facebook

There are a number of reasons someone might want to send a poke:

  • Just to say a quick "hello" to a friend
  • To remind someone that you're waiting on a reply or a message from him or her
  • To check in and see if a person has visited Facebook lately
  • To let someone know you're thinking of him or her
  • Just for fun with your friends

How to Send Pokes

If you used the poke feature in the early days of Facebook and haven't much since, you'll be surprised to know the setup for this feature has changed quite a bit. It's not quite as visible as it once was so getting to the poke screen takes a slight bit of work.

How to Poke Someone on Facebook

The process to poke someone is the same for both a laptop or desktop Facebook interface or if you're using a mobile device or smartphone.

  1. Go to your poke page, which can be found at https://www.facebook.com/pokes when you are logged into your account.

    The poke page in Facebook
    The poke page in Facebook
  2. You will see a search box at the top where you can look for a friend. Caution! If you're not ready to poke someone, don't enter their information in the search box yet!
  3. Typing and finding a friend's name in the search box will automatically send a poke to them.
  4. Note that you cannot poke the same person twice unless the individual has returned or removed your first poke.
  5. If you have poked someone and they have not returned the poke, you can click on the "Show pending pokes" link at the top of the page under "Pokes" to see which pokes are waiting. You can choose to "take back" and delete a pending poke by clicking the grey "x" to the right of their name.
  6. Underneath the search box you will also see some Suggested Pokes which will all be people on your current friend list. If you wish to remove them from the Suggested Pokes area just click on the grey "x" to the right of the blue Poke button.

How to Tell if You Have Been Poked

  1. If someone pokes you, you'll receive a notification under the bell icon for notifications on the blue menu bar on the right.
  2. If you click on that notice, you'll be taken to the Pokes page and you will see people who have poked you, or poked you back, toward the top of the screen above "Suggested Pokes."
  3. You will have the option of clicking the blue Poke Back button to poke them in return.
A screenshot of a notification you have been poked on Facebook
A notification you have been poked on Facebook.

How to Stop Someone from Poking You on a Desktop Computer

  1. If you want to stop someone from poking you, you can block them by going into your blocking settings which are found by clicking on the black down arrow at the upper right of your screen and click on Settings in the drop-down menu.
  2. On the left side of the screen, choose Blocking, which has a red circle icon with a white horizontal line in the middle.
  3. On the Manage Blocking screen, enter the person's name or email in the Block Users area and click on the blue Block button.
  4. Once a person is blocked, they will not be able to poke or tag you. They also will not be notified that they have been blocked.
Screenshot of the Manage Blocking page in Facebook
The Manage Blocking page in Facebook

How to Stop Someone From Poking You Using a Mobile Device

  1. If you are using a mobile device, click on the hamburger menu (three horizontal black lines) in the upper right of your screen.
  2. Then scroll down to find the grey gear wheel for Settings & Privacy and choose Settings.
  3. Scroll down the screen to find the Privacy heading and then choose Blocking.
  4. On the Blocked People page, click on the blue box to "Add to Blocked List" which will take you to a search box where you can enter their name or email. Once their account pops up on the list, click on the blue BLOCK link to the right of their name.

Poking Can Be Fun

If you're still unsure about poking on Facebook, give it a try, or look under the Facebook Help section for more information on pokes. It can be fun to sign in and see how many of your friends have poked you back but keep in mind some users find pokes intrusive so make sure your friends are open to you using the poke feature with them.

What Does It Mean to Poke Someone on Facebook?