Can it be there will finally be privacy on Facebook?

Three big things came out on Facebook today (if you don’t have them yet be patient, rollout may take a bit).

Groups
Facebook added a new feature to create groups from your homepage and select only the friends you want to know about it to join. By default the only people who can see the group are the ones invited.

This should be a boon to small organizations who want a place to connect without sharing everything will all of their friends and family. Say you’re working on a fundraiser with some of your friends but you don’t want to share all the details with your whole network.

  • Now you can create a group and limit access to just the people you want involved.
  • You’ll be able to group chat with just that group of friends.
  • You can even set up an email address for updates so you’ll know what’s going on even when you’re not on Facebook.

What are your apps doing?
The second development may seem small, but for those of use privacy freaks this is very interesting. You’ll now be able to see what applications you’re using on Facebook are able to access and doing with your info and control what your settings are.

Download your stuff
Did you ever want to download all the stuff you’ve got in your profile on Facebook? Now you’ll be able to do that all in one download as a Zip file. Messages, wall posts, pictures, even status updates. Kinda cool to have an archive for posterity don’t you think?

One comment on “Facebook adds private groups and privacy features

  • OK, I’ve had a little time to play with the new groups feature and I have some thoughts to add to this post.
    1. Once a group is formed anyone in the group can invite others to join. While at first this seems like a good idea it also pretty much kills the privacy option.

    2. It’s still pretty much a beta offering. That means there are little rough edges like hitting return while typing posts the comment instead of giving you a space between paragraphs. You can hold down shift and return at the same time to gt a line break, but it’s clunky.

    3. These groups don’t have a lot of the functionality one would expect. The groups don’t have the customization you get in pages. No tabs or bringing in RSS feeds etc. However they do allow you to attach a document which is interesting.

    4. Because so many people are testing it out I suddenly found myself added to several groups without my being invited. It’s a bit disconcerting to suddenly see a stream of emails from groups you didn’t really know much about.

    5. The privacy idea flew out the window immediately. Sure it’s not searchable now, but if people are asking to be invited to groups and adding their friends it’s pretty simple to get into a group to find out what’s going on in there without the creator of the group really knowing about it.

    All in all it’s an interesting change but I’m not buying it as a private thing or a fully baked answer. Not yet.

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