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September 7, 2006

Facebook flips on feature, flips out fans

Posted by Kim Peterson at 11:24 AM

Facebook, the social networking site that isn't MySpace but is still popular with college students, has some of its users in an uproar. (WSJ coverage here)

The site introduced a news feeds feature that lets you see in great detail what your friends are doing on the site. You would know if friends added new photos to their pages, for example, joined a group about tennis or changed their relationship status to "single." You can see a picture of this feed on Techcrunch.

Some people are calling this a breach of their privacy, and have started a group on the site called "Students against Facebook news feed." The membership of that group has topped 600,000, according to this counter.

Facebook executives take to their blog with the following defense:

This is information people used to dig for on a daily basis, nicely reorganized and summarized so people can learn about the people they care about. You don't miss the photo album about your friend's trip to Nepal. Maybe if your friends are all going to a party, you want to know so you can go too.

It's an interesting lesson for students who think they still control the details of their private lives that they put on the Web. Once it's out there, it's out there...

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