In Big New Product Push, Facebook Set to Launch 6.5 Million New Community Pages

In what amounts to a big new product push for the company, Facebook is turning previously static information in user profiles into links to 6.5 million new Community Pages. It’s also further clarifying the point of Pages, dividing out official ones for businesses, celebrities and other known entities from from the “community” ones.

These move will help Facebook more clearly identify what users care about — and help it achieve higher search engine results for Community Pages on any topic imaginable.

The company has also renamed how users interact with Pages, borrowing the term “Like” from the action of giving a news feed item a thumbs-up. As has previously leaked out, now users will “Like” a Page to become a fan of it; this is a conceptually different use of the term than before, and we’ll see how users take to it.

Facebook’s new conceptual term for all these Pages, as well as your friends lists, relationship status and other social information, is “Connections.” It has also made a number of corresponding privacy changes on this front, which we’ll get into once we explain the product changes.

The Community Page Push

Community Pages are intended to capture public-facing topics, concepts, themes and anything else that doesn’t fit either as something “official” or as a narrowly-focused Group. Examples can be anything from geographic locations to types of cuisine to whatever else you can imagine. Many unofficial Pages are being converted into Community Pages, with one key difference being that Community Pages don’t have owners if they get big enough. This also means they don’t get out into the news feed.

Right now, many Community Pages appear to include a note saying “Our goal is to make this Community Page the best collection of shared knowledge on this topic. If you have a passion for Corvallis, Oregon, sign up and we’ll let you know when we’re ready for your help.” But if you click “sign up”, you see another note that says “Thank you for wanting to improve this Community Page. We’ll let you know when we’re ready for your suggestions.” It’s not clear what Facebook will add here that might allow people to curate the content, although this appears likely.

The new Pages started going live on April 1, but the company didn’t reveal much about it then. Now we know more. Facebook has both designated some existing Pages as new “Community Pages” and it has also created 6.5 million on its own, it tells us. These new Pages include a live stream of all recent relevant Facebook information from your friends — as well as public status updates — in addition to relevant information about the Page as drawn from Wikipedia. There are a few other bells and whistles here; pages about locations, for example, often include maps.

Facebook is now prompting users to edit their profile information to link either to official Pages or to Community Pages.

Starting now, Facebook users who go to their profile pages will see a popup window that says “Link your profile to these [X number of] pages?” The pages you’ll see, judging by our test, include home town, current location, education, interests, and other items you’ve previously designated. You can select which of these pages will be shown publicly to people who aren’t your Facebook friends or aren’t logged in when they look for you.

Note that if you don’t feel like dealing with any of the changes now, you can choose to defer for 24 hours (but not longer) or “Choose Pages Individually.” The latter option, as you’d assume, lets you decide which information will be linked or not.

Once you’re done with this initial selection, you’ll see be asked to edit which other other information on your main profile pages will be linked. You’re specifically asked to confirm your location information, for example — links to Community Pages that Facebook has created for cities you’ve designated.

You can manually re-sort each item that appears in your interests, activities and other categories when you’re profile edit mode. So you can decide which musician to put first, for example. Facebook lets you hide all Pages from being immediately visible on your profile, but this is for aesthetics as other users can still view them by clicking “show more” on a profile.

Also, if you see that you have a lot of Pages that Facebook hasn’t categorized already, you’ll need to add them manually or manually “unlike” (or remove from being a fan) them in order to get rid of them. You can’t click to edit then en masse like you can pre-categorized pages.

Facebook has introduced hovercards here to make profiles a little more interesting: if you mouse over a linked item in a profile, you’ll see a box pop up showing a little more information about the item as well as the option to “like” (aka “become a fan”) of it.

Privacy Changes

On that note, Facebook has also remodeled its privacy section so that users can choose to hide friends lists and other important profile details from friends, and other granular options. It has broken out all potentially private social data out from personal information. The former is in a new part of the privacy settings page, called “Friends, Tags and Connections.” The latter is renamed “Personal Information and Posts.”

Facebook previously reconfigured this section in December, but tells us today that ” we got lots of user feedback that people want more control.” The December changes confused many, and sparked a user outcry, as well as close examination from the US Federal Trade Commission, other governmental organizations around the world, and privacy groups.

Now, users can provide greater limits on a number of areas. Most prominently, they can hide lists of friends from their Facebook friends. “We hadn’t anticipated that users would want to hide their lists of friends from their own friends,” Facebook says, but this has continued to be a top requested feature.

Facebook also reminds users throughout its Community Pages launch that these “Connections” are public. Even if you hide which Pages you “like” from your friends, the Pages themselves are public, and so publicly display all users who “like” the Page.

Conclusion: A Clever Move by Facebook

Facebook’s move here is very clever. On an individual level, every Facebook user now has a more visceral experience to non-commercial Community Pages on the site. These pages could serve as new hubs for sharing information, that no one ever thought to create before.

All existing Pages, meanwhile, could get big new boosts to their “like” counts — the transition tool is basically asking users to add a good many by default that were previously just listed as static text in user profiles. The company tells us that it’s not clearly dividing out which Pages are Official versus Community in the transition tool, so it’s quite likely that if you’re not a fan of your favorite musician on Facebook already, then you’re about to be once you make these changes to your profile.

Since links from profiles to Pages are public, this essentially means many more links between Facebook Pages for search engines to recognize per person. We expect all Pages to appear even higher within search results because of this change.

And, Facebook hasn’t just used the 3 million active Pages to plug in to profiles, but added more than twice that number. That means 6.5 million topical Pages that are now even more likely to hit at or near the top of search results. This is probably not what Google wants to see happen; indeed, its apparently unsuccessful Knol community page service was intended to do something similar.

We expect Facebook to continue tying Pages to everything it can. There are all sorts of rumors about the company’s pending launch of location-based services. We expect Pages about locations to be used here. Although we’re speculating, it’s easy to imagine a way to link some sort of check in at a location with a Page for that location.

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Leave a Reply

25 Responses to “In Big New Product Push, Facebook Set to Launch 6.5 Million New Community Pages”

  1. Facebook yokes Interests to Fan Pages; introduces Community Pages says:

    [...] will roll out 6.5 million community-moderated Fan Pages called Community Pages “dedicated to a topic or [...]

  2. Introducing the facebook Fan Pag Like button | Traffic Is Gold says:

    [...] guys over at Inside Facebook have done a nice post about today’s changes. Check it [...]

  3. Matt Brezina says:

    Man, facebook is making so many smart moves.

    This change from “fanning” to “liking” a page is so simple, but will massively decrease the friction that exists when trying to get a user to join your group. And the new community pages will make existing Fan pages even more acceptable, further reducing friction.

    We are all going to see a lot more facebook pages appearing in Google search results going forward. Facebook has just awoken a giant SEO monster.

    Good stuff Eric

  4. Eric Eldon says:

    Hey Matt, agreed on your points. I wonder if Google will try to make Knol work again? Its other options for stopping Facebook SEO look worse.

  5. Facebook Community Pages « Wir sprechen Online. says:

    [...] Facebook turns previously static user profile information into 6.5M new Facebook Community Pages; http://j.mp/cHl8oh [...]

  6. Ryan says:

    I don’t see any of what you are writing on happening in my profile. Is this not an one shot for everyone roll out?

  7. Ryan says:

    I notice this morning that things are back to “become a fan” on fan pages. Did Facebook hear user outcry and switch it back? Any news on that?

  8. Facebook Launches ‘Connections’ And Community Pages | eWEEK Europe UK says:

    [...] reported that Facebook is launching more than 6.5 million Community Pages, which will include a live stream [...]

  9. Kyle Webs says:

    I hope liking something will be different than being a fan. I unfanned all my pages since they’re not public information. It’s not the world’s business what I like and don’t like…think about it, on your personal page you don’t want future employers, instructors, and everybody else who you don’t like so you havent added them to see what you’re doing on Facebook. Making pages public defeats the whole idea of making your profile private. God, they’re so dumb at Facebook! Hopefully liking something will not be public…

  10. Entwicklerkonferenz f8: Was Facebook verkünden wird » netzwertig.com says:

    [...] Community Pages (bestätigt) Neben Facebook Pages (Seiten), die von Unternehmen und Organisationen registriert werden können, launcht Facebook 6,5 Millionen so genannte Community Pages zu einer Vielzahl von Themen, die sich in kollektivem Besitz befinden. Mehr hier. [...]

  11. links for 2010-04-20 : The ChipCast || by Chip Mahaney says:

    [...] In Big New Product Push, Facebook Set to Launch 6.5 Million New Community Pages (tags: facebook community pages fanpages) [...]

  12. DSM says:

    Only stupid people “fan” stupid things. Why would you be embarrassed if future employers saw what you’re a fan of unless it’s idiotic, as so many “fan” and now still “like” pages are, because they are created by stupid 12 YEAR OLDS who cannot read you do NOT create a fan page unless you are an OFFICIAL rep for a business/organization/public figure. Are you a fan of “beating up stupid people” or “i pretend to txt in awkward situations”? Those should be made GROUPS, and will then be private.

    You do NOT create a page for your school or city unless you WORK for the freakin place you idiots! And you do not create fan pages to rant or be the owner of SLEEP. God created sleep, NOT YOU. And GOD does not have an account on Facebook.

    The dumbing of America. I wish they would delete all fan pages and start over by VERIFYING each and every request to prove you own a business and publishing admin names for those pages. After all it is a BUSINESS, you MUST provide PR contact information. It is ILLEGAL to hide it.

    I am happy to read that they can know the difference maybe between an official page and one that is not, to convert it to a community page. But I think it’s all just getting too confusing, and those stupid 12 year olds are still going to make UNOFFICIAL fan or “like” pages out of convenience and not wanting to lose control of them.

    As for hiding friends from friends, it become necessary when a friend is stupid and exposes their wall or photos to the world and you’ve asked them to tighten their security but they won’t do it. So instead of removing that person, you just hide them from everyone. As for like pages, they seem to have taken away the ability to see the members lists.

    I personally as a user of FB since it started, preferred it when it was closed off to children and adults with low IQ.

  13. Costas says:

    I want to change this back to the “text only” version and I cannot find information of how to undo this “linking to pages” thing….. Can somebody help, please….???

  14. Jack Harper says:

    It’s an annoying change. Change it back. I go to my profile, this pops up and there’s no “never bother me about this again” button. Best you can do is click “individually” and get taken away from your profile page to an editor. In 24 hours it’ll bug you again. My page is perfect as text-only. Don’t change it at all!

  15. Carpio says:

    I want my text info back again :’( anyone knows how to do that????? HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! stupid changes

  16. » You Will Soon Be Dead To Me, Facebook - Dissociated Press says:

    [...] channel. But what finally got me in terms of all these interface and privacy changes was the recent rollout of Community Pages. Try some of the paranoia-inducing things listed on this page, and you’ll see what I mean. [...]

  17. The real Bradnam post : The Shifting Balance of Factors says:

    [...] What annoyed me more than the new Open Graph Protocol is the change to my profile page. I had written a lot of text in all of the categories so that my friends could get some insights into my personality. The recent changes to facebook now require that this information must be linked to something called Community Pages. [...]

  18. Facebook Community Pages: What Your Business Needs to Know | Social Media Examiner says:

    [...] automatically created 6.5 million Community Pages in mid-April. These pages were auto-generated from users’ [...]

  19. Facebook Community Pages: What Your Business Needs to Know | SpaceWalk Media says:

    [...] automatically made 6.5 million Convergence Pages in mid-April. These pages [...]

  20. Facebook – a funny way to run a company | Brenda Burch Dumont's Blog says:

    [...] technical knowledge to plow through this very well written article, you’ll find Facebook automatically created 6.5 million Community Pages in mid-April. That’s only part of the story and to read why you [...]

  21. Facebook automatically create community pages - this affects you... says:

    [...] If someone lists their place of employment on Facebook, but there hasn’t been a page created, then Facebook will automatically create a community page and assign that person to them. In April this year alone they create 6.5 million community pages – read about it here… [...]

  22. Andrew says:

    Have a new product to bring out. It is set to go but want a manufacturer, funding and knowledge.
    It is in the medium security group.

    everyone knows it backwaqrds and forward except me.

  23. Christina Calamare says:

    This post appears to recieve a great deal of visitors. How do you promote it? It offers a nice unique twist on things. I guess having something real or substantial to talk about is the most important thing.

  24. 페이스북 커뮤니티 페이지에 대한 오해 says:

    [...] 2010년 4월 20일(미국 날자로 4월 19일), 페이스북은 커뮤니티 페이지에 대한 내용을 발표했습니다. (원문보기) 사용자들이 만들지 않은 ‘자연 발생적인 이슈’에 대해서 페이스북이 자동으로 650만개의 커뮤니티 페이지를 만들었습니다. (원문보기) [...]

  25. 페이스북 커뮤니티 페이지에 대한 오해 | 페이스북 아카데미 says:

    [...] 2010년 4월 20일(미국 날자로 4월 19일), 페이스북은 커뮤니티 페이지에 대한 내용을 발표했습니다. (원문보기) 사용자들이 만들지 않은 ‘자연 발생적인 이슈’에 대해서 페이스북이 자동으로 650만개의 커뮤니티 페이지를 만들었습니다. (원문보기) [...]

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