Facebook quietly phases out FB Questions

The social-networking giant says it's going to focus on other things, but that doesn't mean it's giving up on search all together.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
2 min read
Facebook Questions, circa 2011, emphasized quick, poll-like answers for social recommendations. Facebook

Facebook has quietly started phasing out its Questions product, but that doesn't mean it's completely giving up on search.

The social-networking giant is beginning to remove the product for users, a Facebook representative told CNET, but Questions will remain available for Pages and Groups.

Facebook is making the move, the representative said, "to focus on other things." The company didn't elaborate on what those things might be, but it's probably pretty safe to assume that includes search.

Facebook launched Questionsa couple of years ago, seeking to allow its users to find answers to inquiries by sourcing their friends and the Facebook community at large. The service didn't really take off, and Facebook instead has turned its attention to other areas.

Search, in particular, has been a pretty hot topic for the company in the past few months. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has said that Facebook is "pretty uniquely positioned to answer a lot of questions people have." It's sort of "friend mining" -- as CNET pointed out last month -- extracting specific answers to a question by mining the immensely data-rich social graph.

Facebook thus far has been coy about launching an actual search product, but it has acknowledged it has a team working on it. Such an offering could be like Quora on steroids. The site, founded by former Facebook CTO Adam D'Angelo, lets users post questions that other users can in turn answer. Facebook Questions also competed with Quora but failed to pose much of a threat.

CNET's Paul Sloan contributed to this story.