Seriously, this is just stupid. If I wanted to let just anyone know what I’m doing on Facebook why would I have all those Profile Privacy settings? (Even if it’s just my status update – which are very often personal updates.) If I treated Facebook like Twitter, I would accept all those friend requests sitting in my inbox from complete strangers with no reason why they want to be “friends.” If I wanted to let the world know what I was doing an didn’t care who knew, I’d say it on Twitter.
But I use Facebook differently. For now, that is. If they do this, I see no use for Facebook and will go to a different community for private communications with friends and family.
What do you think?
Facebook Tests Stalker-Friendly “Subscribe to” Feature
Facebook is testing a new feature that allows any user to “subscribe to” another user. What with having hundreds of friends, multiple news feeds and only so many hours in the day, you might miss out on what your ex-girlfriend is doing these days–and that will not stand!
The “subscribe to” feature gives you notifications whenever someone to whom you’ve subscribed takes action on Facebook, from status updates to photo uploads to wall comments. The new feature doesn’t seem to extend as far as Facebook Places check-ins–Facebook says it only applies to updated statuses and new content. Here’s their statement:
Yes, this feature is being tested with a small percent of users. It
lets people subscribe to friends and pages to receive notifications
whenever the person they’ve subscribed to updates their status or posts
new content (photos, videos, links, or notes).
AllFacebook notes that while this is sort of creepy for individuals, it could be used to great (and less weird) effect with public pages (eds. note: Please stalk Fast Company on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/FastCompany). Imagine following a band, and never missing when that band sends out a Facebook message with new tour dates. You could see how business and other groups would find the feature pretty useful, especially since it distills the true fans from the casual ones who join every page.
In the wake of pretty much continuous privacy scandals, it’s unclear how Facebook will make this feature seem palatable. It doesn’t exactly allow anything that wasn’t possible before, but it makes obsession much easier. Perhaps Facebook would implement a way for users to approve subscribers?
In any case, the feature is merely being tested now, and may or may not ever be implemented for the general public. How do you all feel? Is this a valuable new tool, or a step over the line into creepiness?
Dan Nosowitz, the author of this post, can be followed on Twitter, corresponded with via email, and stalked in Brooklyn (no link for that one–you’ll have to do the legwork yourself).Read more at www.fastcompany.com