A mural decorates one of the many open space work areas at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, May 15, 201 / ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Already nicknamed a ‘friendship destruction device’, the feature looks set to destroy people’s excuses for not turning up to things

Facebook is testing read receipts for its event invitations, meaning that nobody will ever be able to falsely claim that they missed a notification.

The feature — still in testing at the moment — will show when friends that have been invited to an event have “Seen” the message. It looks largely similar to the messages that show when somebody has read a message, which have also been criticised for enabling passive aggression.

Facebook reportedly hopes that the new tool will help people be sure that they have invited the right people, and know that invites have actually arrived.

With messages, Facebook enforces read receipts — unlike WhatsApp or iMessage, it’s impossible to turn them off. So there is no easy way of stopping people from seeing the messages.

It’s likely that the event read receipts will be much the same, with no way of getting rid of the “Seen” message once you’ve actually seen it. And so it will destroy one of the favourite excuses of people on Facebook — that among the busyness of notifications an event invite must have got lost.

But it’s not absolutely certain that Facebook will be bringing the feature to everyone. The site sometimes tests features and then removes them after feedback.

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