When college-oriented social networking site Facebook launched new features earlier this week, users weren't too thrilled. More specifically, a "news feed" that provides users a log of exactly what's going on with the denizens of their friends list--new photos, changes to relationship status, rejected party invitations, etc.--was denounced as invasive and "stalker-ish." Members joined newly formed protest groups in earnest, and rumors of some sort of "National Don't-Log-Onto-Facebook.com Day" began to swirl.
Luckily, Facebook wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg seems to have been able to pinpoint the real problem. There were plenty of members in hysterics over the concept, demanding that it be removed from the site. Instead, Zuckerberg chose to appease them--as he posted in an apologetic "open letter" blog entry Friday morning--by introducing new privacy options that allow users to click a few buttons to decide which updates to their profiles, friends lists and photo galleries will be shown on the News Feed. Since Facebook has typically prided itself on user-friendly privacy controls, this was a smart move.
(In fact, why they rolled out the news feed sans privacy options in the first place is beyond me. Publicity stunt, maybe? Or not.)
Now that the site provides options as to what actually goes on it ("yes" to Labor Day barbecue photos, "no" to addition of "Star Wars: Episode I" on "Favorite Movies" list), many Facebook users will probably rest easy. And I think they'll grow to like the News Feed. Several new groups on the site have already popped up, including "Against Being Against News Feed" and "Admit It: You like reading the News Feed even though you say you hate it." Personally, I wouldn't be opposed to a neat list of updates that tell me when my friends add new vacation photos, leave each other funny notes, or showcase their favorite new TV show picks.
Sure, go ahead, call me a stalker. But I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one.