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If you observe, you can "Mark as read" in the notification bar in the web application. However, the same is missing in the native app.

I am trying to understand the reasons/logic behind it.

Also, Facebook did have the "Mark as read" option earlier in the native apps. Based on the communication on this link: https://www.facebook.com/help/community/question/?id=10152551552787230

My question is:

  1. Is it due to real estate available over mobile?
  2. Does user not expect to mark all notification as read after refreshing the notifications? (based on above link)
  3. Does it affect user experience adversely?
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    We can only speculate here. For the real answer you will need to ask Facebook. – Andrew Martin Jun 19 '17 at 12:34
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TL;DR: I speculate that it's because they removed the feature which marked all notifications as Read on Refresh, likely because it wasn't what the user expected to happen. Then they intentionally didn't replace the Mark All As Read feature as it didn't benefit enough users on mobole.


Facebook used to mark all notifications as read whenever you pulled down the pane to refresh, but for some this will have been undesirable. Presumably Facebook pulled the feature without replacing the Mark All As Read functionality.

To answer your question regarding it affecting the user experience adversely: For these people, Yes it does.

However, that's the only support ticket I could find, so my best guess is that they performed research and found that the functionality wasn't used all that much on mobile.

Is it due to real estate? I don't think so. The iPad version has plenty of space for a Mark All As Read button, yet it is still not included. But it might be classified as what Alan Cooper calls excise. By including it you increase the cognitive work users have to perform, but only benefit very few of them.

And I think there's a reason it's unlikely to be included in the future:

Notifications are now separated into two segments: New and Earlier. From an information architecture perspective, would Mark All As Read apply to only the New notifications, or all of them?

But again, as Andrew Martin mentions in his comment to the question, all we can do is speculate. Unless anyone has a loose-lipped contact at Facebook, of course :)

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Over the course of time, Facebook has changed lots of its features and approaches. The "Mark as read" is also one of them. Note that Facebook isn't merely a social media platform. It has a lot of things like paid promotion, items on sale, news, notification filtering, news feed optimization etc. I could go on and on.

But the one that is pertinent to your question is notification filtering. With Facebook now having various types of notification categories (the one you're talking about comes under "Red Alert Notification").

Earlier on, the notifications users received were cut and dry and non-intuitive. Now, however, you will notice that the notifications are intuitive. Even if you don't open all notifications, after a given amount of time, they are marked as read.

Earlier on, the notifications were like emails. The unread count won't refresh until you open all of them, hence the "Mark as read" option. Now, it's not really required.

PS: If you're wondering why this option is still there on the web application, then refer to Joel Tebbett's answer.

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