Just as the buzz from Facebook’s new News Feed feature seemed to be dying down, site creator Mark Zuckerberg added a new twist for the site’s users. After a week of posts and polls, Facebook opened its regional networks, where people would no longer need to be a part of an authenticated network to view profiles of users.
According to a message posted on the site by Zuckerberg, the new system would give access to “people who couldn’t get on before because their schools didn’t offer e-mail addresses, because they went to work instead of college, because they graduated before Facebook even existed or for any other reason.”
The expansion of Facebook has caused many students to question their privacy while on Facebook. What was originally a college profiling system has expanded to include high school students and major corporations.
The privacy controls featured by Facebook keep faculty, staff, corporations and people in regional networks from seeing their profiles, Zuckerberg said.
School of Communication Professor Sarah Menke-Fish cautioned students that what they put on Facebook has the potential to reach a large audience.
“I think every student should keep in mind that anything that they put in writing is out there for the world to see, and also every picture,” she said. “Pictures [especially] can be taken out of context really easily.”
While many students, such as Manan Shah, a senior in the School of International Service, said Facebook is “too big,” others, like Jack Douglass, a freshman in SOC, say they are more open to the idea. However, Douglass said he wasn’t sure he liked the new Facebook.
“I don’t like how you can include anyone and everyone,” Douglass said. “I think [I’m most worried] that it will turn into another MySpace.”
Douglass said he did like the idea that Facebook could be used as a forum to facilitate communication between different organizations and students. He recently used Facebook to encourage students to vote online for his video in a film contest he entered.
Others said the new Facebook just adds complications to the site’s use.
“I spend enough time on Facebook as it is,” said Rachel Cannon, a freshman in SIS. “I don’t really need anymore friends.”
Douglass, who uses his Facebook to promote his videos and keep in touch with friends, said it would be a while before he ever thought the new measures were dramatic enough to disable his account.
“The beauty of Facebook is that everybody’s [profile] is organized essentially in the same way, so it’s easy to find a person’s interests, likes, dislikes, etcetera,” he said. “It’s clean, but you can still be an individual. If it ever starts looking like a MySpace page, I’d stop using it.”