Facebook Messages and Inbox
Since the website’s founding, it has allowed users to send messages to each other. A Facebook user can send a message to any number of his/her friends at a time. Deleting a message from one’s inbox does not delete it from the inbox of other users, thus disabling a sender to redo a message sent by him.
On November 15, 2010, Facebook announced a new “Facebook Messages” service. In a media event that day, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “It’s true that people will be able to have a @facebook.com email addresses, but it’s not email.” The launch of such a feature had been anticipated for some time before the announcement, with some calling it a “Gmail killer.” The system, to be available to all of the website’s users, combines text messaging, instant messaging, emails, and regular messages, and will include privacy settings similar to those of other Facebook services.
Facebook Networks, Groups, and Like Pages
Facebook allows different networks and groups to which many users can join. It also allows privacy settings on basis of networks. Groups are used for discussions, events, etc. Groups are a way of enabling a number of people to come together online to share information and discuss specific subjects. They are increasingly used by clubs, companies and public sector organizations to engage with stakeholders – be they members of the public, employees, members, service users, shareholders or customers. A group includes but is not limited to the following: the members who have joined, recent news contents, wall contents, photos, posted items, videos and all associated comments of such items. In this respect, groups are similar to pages but contain more features. Groups are limited to 300 groups per user, though it is possible to find some users with more than 300 groups because it was possible to dodge this limit in a few ways, until recently when they fixed those exploits. The urls of group pages start with http://www.facebook.com/group… and do not include the name of the group.
Individuals or companies can create “Like Pages” which allows fans of an individual, organization, product, service, or concept to join a Facebook fan club. Like Pages look and behave much like a user’s personal private profile, with some significant differences. Public Profiles are integrated with Facebook’s advertising system, allowing Public Profile owners to easily advertise to Facebook’s users. Owners can send updates to their fans, which shows up on their home page. They also have access to insights and analytics of their fan base. Early on, users had the option to “become a fan” of the page until 19 April 2010 when the option was later changed to “like” the page. While an individual with a personal profile can acquire up to 5,000 friends, a “Like Page” can have an unlimited number of “Likers”. “Like Pages” can also be customized by adding new Tabs using the Static FBML application. This powerful feature can bring additional functionality to a page such as e-mail collection, specialized content, or a landing page for sales activity. The URLs of “Like Pages” start with http://www.facebook.com/pages… and do include the name of the individual, etc. liked. A user may well find out who unfriended them by going to Who Unfriended Me
Facebook News Feed
On 6 September 2006, Ruchi Sangvhi announced a new home page feature called News Feed. Originally, when users logged into Facebook, they were presented with a customizable version of their own profile. The new layout, by contrast, created an alternative home page in which users saw a constantly updated list of their friends’ Facebook activity. News Feed highlights information that includes profile changes, upcoming events, and birthdays, among other updates. This has enabled spammers and other users to manipulate these features by creating illegitimate events or posting fake birthdays to attract attention to their profile or cause. News Feed also shows conversations taking place between the walls of a user’s friends. An integral part of the News Feed interface is the Mini-Feed, a news stream on the user’s profile page that shows updates about that user. Unlike in the News Feed, the user can delete events from the Mini-Feed after they appear so that they are no longer visible to profile visitors.
Initially, the addition of the News Feed caused some discontent among Facebook users. Many users complained that the News Feed was too cluttered and full of undesired information. Others were concerned that the News Feed made it too easy for other people to track activities like changes in relationship status, events, and conversations with other users. This tracking is often casually referred to as “Facebook-Stalking.” In response to this dissatisfaction, creator Mark Zuckerberg issued an apology for the site’s failure to include appropriate customizable privacy features. Thereafter, users were able to control what types of information were shared automatically with friends. Currently, users may prevent friends from seeing updates about several types of especially private activities, although other events are not customizable in this way.
With the introduction of the “New Facebook” – in early February 2010 – came a total redesign of the pages, several new features and changes to News Feeds. On their personal Feeds (now integrated with Walls), users were given the option of removing updates from any application as well as choosing the size they show up on the page. Furthermore, the community feed (containing recent actions by the user’s friends) contained options to instantly select whether to hear more or less about certain friends or applications.
Notifications of the more important events, for example, someone sharing a link on the user’s wall or commenting on a post the user previously commented on, briefly appear for a few seconds in the bottom left as a popup message (if the user is online), and a red counter is updated on the toolbar at the top, thus allowing the user to keep track of all the most recent notifications.