Facebook Changes: September 2011

Mark Zuckerberg kicked off the f8 conference in San Francisco Thursday and introduced some of the most profound changes seen on Facebook since its inception. Here’s the handy guide for the changes.

‘Open graph’

The latest changes at Facebook include a new class of “open graph” applications that will let people discover and share music, movies, books and other news as well as seemingly lightweight experiences like bicycle rides.

As per Zuckerberg’s statement, “I am excited about what the latest wave of music companies is doing with the open graph”. He also added, Software apps made by more than a dozen developers, including Spotify, will let Facebook members share, discover and listen to music.

Zuckerberg heralded the arrival of Facebook applications that let people automatically allow chosen friends see what they do or experience without needing to click “Like” or “Share” buttons.

The significant overhaul to Facebook profile pages promised to transform them into interactive digital scrapbooks that memorialise people’s lives online in real time.


“We didn’t want to just design a place for you to put all of your stories and apps,” Zuckerberg said. “We wanted to make Timeline a place that you are proud to call your home.”

People will need to install third party applications to share snippets in Timeline profile pages, which will feature privacy controls. Applications will also require people to set data sharing “permissions” before they are used.

Movie, music, and news applications enable Facebook users to see what their friends are reading, viewing, or listening to at any given moment and then, with a single click, tap into the same digital content. Zuckerberg said open graph at Facebook would transform the way people discover news, films and more through their friends. “Now, you don’t just have to ‘Like’ a book, you can read it,” he explained. “You can connect to anything you want; it’s simple but it is really powerful.”

Facebook launched a test version of Timeline, which will be rolled to all of the social network’s more than 750 million members in coming weeks.


“Facebook is positioning itself as not just your social graph online, but your life online,” said Forrester analyst Sean Corcoran.

“These changes not only help trump rival Google, but will open up new opportunities for marketers with new kinds of customer experiences, long term engagement, advertising, and customer intelligence,” he continued.

Facebook’s transformation is likely to trigger backlash from ranks of notoriously change-averse users and to resurrect concerns over how effectively the social network protects people’s privacy. Facebook said it has worked with privacy groups while developing Timeline during the past year and that it has made it simple and clear to control what information gets shared with whom.

Facebook also planned to put out videos and other material explaining Timeline to users before switching profile pages to the dramatically different format. “The world is moving quickly and we want to be innovative and keep rolling out new things,” Zuckerberg said of balancing Facebook’s evolution with the wishes of those that want the social network to stay the same.

Facebook users this week had taken to complaining about the barrage of recently released updates intended to make it easier to manage the torrents of updates from friends at the social network. Facebook users are known for complaining fiercely about changes to the service but then adapting and sticking with the online community.

California-based Facebook hit a new milestone this month with a half-billion people using the social network in a single day, according to Zuckerberg.

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