Opinion Brief

Facebook's 'tedious' new subscribe button

The social networking giant unveils a Twitter-like feature — delighting some users, and annoying others

Facebook is doing its best to keep up with the competition. Earlier this week, the social networking giant unveiled a new method of sorting friends into lists — with each of which you can share different amounts of information. (Sound a bit like Google+?) Then, Wednesday, Facebook introduced Subscriptions. By signing up, you let Facebook users who aren't your friends follow your feed. (Sound a bit like Twitter?) Facebook Subscriptions also allows you to control how much info you want to see from friends — all updates, only photos, game notifications, etc. Are these changes improving Facebook, or just needlessly complicating it?

Enough with the identity crises: "What's up with Facebook?" asks Rory Cellan-Jones at BBC News. Every day seems to bring news of additional Facebook features. I assume they're trying to compete with Google+ and Twitter, but "it makes the whole business of managing your social networking activity just a bit too tedious." Facebook should be more secure in its position and the services it provides, instead of putting users through these "repeated identity crises." Then again, in Silicon Valley, "only the paranoid survive." "Is Facebook losing its identity?"

Actually, this is great news: The subscribe button is "an exciting new feature that wouldn't be possible without Facebook's new and improved filtering system, which allows users to control who they want seeing their content," says Chris Gayomali at TIME. Sure, it could raise some privacy issues, and it might give some loonies a "quieter easier way to stalk." But there are plenty of famous Facebookers who are hungering for this feature, and for them, Facebook Subscription should "provide a serviceable megaphone.""Facebook makes another big announcement with 'Subscriptions'"

Time will tell: Let's see how this plays out, says Larry Dignan at ZD Net. The social networking giant has gotten into the habit of cribbing cool features from Google+, and then using its massive size to mainstream them. "The subscribe button should be one interesting experiment to watch." And I, for one, will use it to reduce "the noise on my Facebook account big time." I'll no longer be reading about "details of your dinner and fun time in Jamaica," thank you very much."Facebook's new subscribe button: An interesting experiment on importance"

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