At a press event, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s three latest features to be rolled out soon that will offer users more control over and transparency about their information.
Designed to solve “the biggest problem in social networking”, the Groups feature will enable users to create groups like family, workmates, or friends with a specific interest, a great way to prevent over-sharing of one’s information. Users within a group can share basic text documents (a text editor called ‘Docs’ which enable basic formatting options is included), managing events, and even having group chats with as many as 250 people at the same time.
While there is an existing feature that permits users to create lists of friends, only five percent of Facebook’s 500 million users actually use it. Moreover, the current feature is a solitary exercise where the user decides which lists will be able to view certain posts, photos or updates, while as Zuckerberg sees it, “Creating groups is a more social exercise. When one user creates a group, all the other members get notified. They can choose to leave, but will more likely engage, and create lists of their own.” (Source: CNN)
With the new “Download Your Information” feature, users will be able to create a zip file of everything they have done on Facebook, since as Zuckerberg said, “It’s our core belief that people should own and be able to control their information in Facebook. We view this as a philosophical thing.” (Source: PCWorld)
Likely in response to criticisms about the privacy invasions of third-party applications such as games and quizzes, Facebook also revealed another new feature – an apps dashboard that will enable users to see what information various applications can access about its users.
Facebook’s new features will no doubt please its users and even privacy advocates, but will Groups be just another way to form cliques and shun the not-so-cool kids?