Facebook lets members make profile elements wide open

Facebook has added an option for members to share certain elements of their profiles with everyone else on the site.

Facebook on Monday made it possible for members to lift privacy access controls from certain elements of their profiles, so that anyone on the social-networking site can see them.

With the announcement, Facebook is following through on an announcement made earlier this month in which it said that a number of members had requested this new capability.

Now, members will find the option of opening up to "everyone" their profile page and specific content types like status updates, links, Wall posts, photos and videos.

This will let anyone on Facebook view the elements that have an "everyone" privacy setting without having to be friends or share a common network with the person who is broadly exposing that content.

"This is an additional setting for those of you who wish to share with a broader audience," wrote Facebook engineer Mark Slee in a blog posting.

This new access option is part of a larger effort by Facebook to blur and eventually dissolve the lines between personal profiles and its Pages marketing service.

Pages, which companies and public figures set up to promote themselves publicly on Facebook, will become more dynamic by focusing on interactions from their "fans," in a similar way in which interactions between members and their friends take center stage in personal profiles.

Meanwhile, the personal profiles are now changing so that they can be made more broadly available, more public like Pages, allowing members to share potentially with all 175 million Facebook members, not just with their friends or others in their geographic or school networks.

This is an interesting evolution for Facebook, which for years stressed its very granular privacy options as a source of differentiation from other social-networking sites with less strict access controls. It is, however, a move by Facebook to catch up with the latest Twitter craze, which has made it clear that there is a sizable market for people who want to broadcast inane updates on their lives to anyone who cares to read them.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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