Facebook Takes Aim at Twitter: New Publisher Makes Public Status Updates Easy

Facebook has just announced that it’s now testing a new version of the “publisher” that allows users to choose who can see their status updates and posts.  The most interesting part? The first option is “everyone.”

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In other words, Facebook is making it easy for users to post status updates that are visible not just to their Facebook friends – but for the entire world (and Google) to see. Facebook has said for a long time that it’s planned to give users more granular privacy controls over status updates, but Facebook has never promoted making status updates publicly visible this heavily before – though the company did take a step back in March to allow users to share some content on their profiles with everyone.

By contrast, Twitter’s public nature has made the site increasingly popular amongst users interested in broadcasting their messages as widely as possible or unconcerned with privacy. Now, users will have the same opportunity to be just as public on Facebook without getting a Facebook Page (“public profile”) as well.

According to Facebook, users can now choose to share status updates with:

  • Everyone: Anyone, on or off, of Facebook can see it.
  • Friends and Networks: People you have confirmed as friends and people in any school or work networks that you’ve joined can see it.
  • Friends of Friends: Anyone who is friends with a friend of yours can see it.
  • Friends: Only people you have confirmed as friends can see it.
  • Custom: Choose any friend or Friend List to include or exclude from seeing that piece of content.

The concept behind per-item privacy controls on shared content is powerful: now, users can share content that’s not privacy-sensitive publicly (like interesting links or comments about the weather) while still only sharing personal information with friends. The new publisher also allow users to only share status updates with particular friend lists, making it easy to share content that’s only intended for some friends to not be visible to others.

Facebook says the new publisher is now available to people “who had previously set their status updates and profile privacy settings to be visible to ‘Everyone,’” but that the test should be expanded to more users soon. We’ll of course keep you updated as Facebook contniues to roll out the new publisher more widely.

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Leave a Reply

62 Responses to “Facebook Takes Aim at Twitter: New Publisher Makes Public Status Updates Easy”

  1. Jens Borgkvist says:

    I really wonder why Facebook tries so hard to copy Twitter rather than creating new, richer functionality that Twitter wouldn’t be able to offer in their stringent univers…

  2. Mark Mayhew says:

    god post, but shouldn’t it have been titled “Facebook Takes Aim At Twitter (Again)” =)

  3. Name* says:

    contniues

  4. Jake Mulley says:

    I also done a post on this: http://blog.codegenie.co.uk/2009/06/24/facebook-takes-on-twitter/ I don’t think Twitter will suffer.

  5. Chad Garrett says:

    This is taking way too long to happen.

  6. Alex says:

    Shouldn’t facebook make it more like a FriendFeed UI?

    Bests,
    Alex (GuruOfSales)

  7. Sarah Perez says:

    Wait, are you sure that they’re going to be “googlable?” Because it makes more sense that they’ll be public to *everyone on Facebook*, but not the search engines. Then Facebook would have its very own killer social search engine that trumps Twitter’s search by miles.

    They could even sell access to that data (business model?)

    I’d be surprised if they were Googlable, but then again, Facebook never fails to surprise me.

  8. @RelativeTheory says:

    Google 3 years from now will be the leader in that sector… Google Wave will be hard 2 beat

  9. diesel mcfadden says:

    It’s Mark Z’s world, we just live in it.

    The choice of the word “Everyone” is cleverly evil in its ambiguity. When assigned as a default, a sizable percentage of people will misinterpret it as “everyone i’m connected to” and not as “everyone, the entire world”.

    “Everyone” is the nudge word used when you want everything to be public. If you care about people’s privacy, the unambiguous word to use is, ironically, “Public”.

  10. ts says:

    Sure twitter will suffer. Twitter showed that microblogging is a big thing. Facebook adds privacy and a more reasonable character limitation and the ability to show pics and videos in the stream.

  11. Facebook Taking Another Step Toward Being Open « Kevin Burton’s NEW FeedBlog says:

    [...] June 24, 2009 in Uncategorized This is good news. Facebook now has public status updates. [...]

  12. PR, Public Relations & communications news and features says:

    [...] that IIIIIIIS interesting.  Facebook offering streaming video (via uStream) and flipping up status updates.  Enquiring minds might ask where is all this heading (and no it’s not because they are [...]

  13. Bart Simp says:

    use your facebook to sell online..
    http://www.muncom.com

    “Muncom.com is a free web store builder and a free online marketplace.”
    “Sellers can easily create their own free online store in minutes, with free website hosting, free subdomain and a powerful admin tool to manage their free online stores.”

  14. Facebook Making Status Sharing Custom For Different Profile Levels says:

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  15. Sachin Balagopalan says:

    I’m not sure they’ll be Googleable! That would mean giving up “precious” data to the search engines which I don’t think is a good strategy. I’m sure like Twitter they’re probably thinking “Search” as well!

  16. Public Updates Could Be Facebook’s Biggest Change » The American Mind says:

    [...] Takes Aim at Twitter: New Publisher Makes Public Status Updates Easy” Save and Share: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share [...]

  17. Facebook blogging | Incauto Acquisto says:

    [...] andranno in “broadcast” pubblico, creando una pagina tipo blog, o tipo microblog in stile Twitter. (Insidefacebook) Continua a Leggere su Luca De Biase Altri articoli nel nostro Incauto Aggregator     [...]

  18. Maximilian Tatton-Brown says:

    It’s meaningless to allow people to share their statuses with everyone while there’s no functionality for following other than friending (in which case you see posts anyway.) Without that, it can’t bear any resemblance to Twitter.

  19. winandmac 香港版 | Facebook走多一步學Twitter says:

    [...] [來源:Inside Facebook] [...]

  20. Facebook kopierer Twitter igen! | Jens Borgkvist Online says:

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  21. Finance Geek » Facebook Lets Users Post Tweet-Like Public Updates says:

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  22. Reminder: Comments Left on Facebook Pages Are Already Public says:

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  23. Friendfeed kann Dateien einbinden, Facebook macht auf Twitter | freshzweinull +++ says:

    [...] testet derweil ein simples Feature, mit dem Nutzer ihre Statusupdates künftig öffentlich machen können. Klingt nicht spektakulär, ist es aber. In Ergänzung zu den Vanity-URLs, die Facebook vor [...]

  24. Sean Fargo says:

    Twitter got it right about what information needs to be public
    Facebook was closed when MySpace was way too open
    But now they must open up to compete
    I think it’s still an uphill battle for Facebook as Twitter is so ingrained for public messaging
    And so many cool mashups have been built with Twitter (but can’t think of any using Facebook off network – not including Facebook Connect) like:

    http://tweetnews.me

    Facebook needs more developers outside their network. They can’t serve everything in a walled garden.

  25. Facebook Takes Another Page from Twitter’s Playbook | Technologizer says:

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  32. Facebook Taking Status Updates Public (A La Twitter) - Web 2.0 Promotions says:

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  33. The Ashes » Blog Archive » Facebook Making Status Sharing Custom For Different Profile Levels says:

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  44. Bruce Clay SEO Australia says:

    It’s going to be interesting to see how Facebook users who have a Twitter account react: Are they going to drop Twitter and export their contacts to Facebook? Besides, Facebook Search will become a very powerful real-time search engine.

  45. SEO and high PR » Blog Archive » Red, White & Roundup - 30th Edition says:

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  48. social media websites(twitter, facebook, etc) articles, 24jun-5jul2009 « Stefanm, my link collection says:

    [...] Facebook Takes Aim at Twitter: New Publisher Makes Public Status Updates Easy; [...]

  49. Red, White & Roundup | zbTech.net says:

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  50. Red, White & Roundup | Search Engine Optimization Professionals ( SEO ) says:

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  57. social media articles september 1st-20th 2009: twitter, facebook, etc « Stefanm, my link collection says:

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  58. Microsoft’s Bing Search Engine Cuts Status Update Data Deal with Facebook says:

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  59. The reason for Twitter’s downfall | co>innovative says:

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  60. tercüme büroları says:

    facebook and the twitter are very diffucult, do there’s nop

  61. çeviri bürosu says:

    An interesting approach to the topic

  62. Is Twitter trying to be Facebook? | Blue Helm says:

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