Facebook, the social networking site popular among college students, launched several new features this week to greet students coming back to school. But for many, the changes went over about as well as an 8 a.m. calculus class.
Among the new features was a newsfeed service that shows users whenever someone in their network makes a change. Users can know instantly, for instance, when people "friend" each other, when people add photos, or when new members join their network. The feature also allows users to instantly see all recent changes to a friend's site.
User reaction was swift; thousands of users formed protest groups on the site, dubbing the new feature stalkerish and saying it was serious invasion of their privacy.
Turning the computer off and speaking to your friends in person, an almost fail-safe way to maintain your privacy, is apparently not an option for Facebook users.
Blog community response:
"There's a big difference between looking and stalking. The News Feed feature turns social networking into social stalking and that's just creepy. I think Facebook really needs to re-evaluate how the system works."
"By adding an RSS feed for all changes to a particular user's profile, Facebook changed the way personal information flows within that context, and that does impact user privacy."
"We all know who has dumped who, who is doing what, and who doesn't like something anymore. This is invasive, and while it is displayed for others to see, it is not meant to bombard their homepage. The Facebook has become a perfect tool for stalkers to gain access to their prey, easily."
--The New Facebook Must Be Stopped!