Facebook Lists: The Next Step For Improved Privacy in Social Networking
This week has seen the roll out of ‘Lists’ by Facebook. This is in response to Google+’s ‘Circles’. What it essentially means is that you can separate your contacts into different lists (they won’t know which one they are in) and then send updates only to certain people. For example you might have Family, Friends and Acquaintances lists. You would update your status with a photo of a family get together to only your Family list, so that people you don’t really know aren’t let in on your personal life. Users can now also ‘subscribe’ to your feed without you having to become friends with them (like Twitter).
This is all part of Facebook, and social networking sites in general, trying to improve user’s privacy. As mentioned in our previous blog: Location-Based Social Networking: Friend or Foe? privacy is an on-going issue for social networking sites and they know they need to make their users feel comfortable with the information they are sharing if they are going to continue to use them.
However, that said I would still err on the side of caution with anything you post to the web, in any form. Even after deleting posts they can often still be cached and found in the websphere. Assume that, even if you believe you are posting to a private list, that anything you post has the potential to be seen by anyone..
At the moment these changes shouldn’t have a major effect on how organisations use social media to communicate. Facebook has already restricted organisations’ use of it by pushing them to set-up ‘Pages’ rather than as groups or people. This already came with its own restrictions before they brought in yet another change that pages will no longer be able to message ‘likers’ directly from 30th September.
Google+ still doesn’t have a place for organisations to set themselves up and will close down any accounts that are not personal. The only place that seems to, at the moment, be embracing the use of its platform by organisations is Twitter by differentiating itself as an information sharing network rather than a social network.
Maybe it is time for a new social network to take centre stage…
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