Facebook Releases New Features, Addresses Privacy Concerns

Facebook releases new features, including Facebook Groups

Facebook just added three features to their wildly popular social platform. These include: a third-party application dashboard, full profile downloads and a revamped group feature. Each addition is meant to address privacy concerns from earlier this year.

Not only has Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, turned his life into the top-selling movie in America, he somehow had time to develop new features for his social network. And while each of these platform additions is touted as game changers, they’re mostly intended to battle bad PR over privacy issues from earlier this year.

These new features include:

  • Facebook “Groups”
  • Full Profile Downloads
  • Application Dashboard

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Facebook is beginning to slowly roll out these features today, and will make them available to all 500 million users in the near future. More information, including videos, can be found on Facebook’s announcement blog.

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Facebook Groups

The new Group feature allows you to share information with a select group of friends, as opposed to each friend on your profile. For example, if you wanted to post a photo of your latest football bash, but only wanted to show it to your tailgating group, you’d simply invite selected members to your group and share your picture. You could then create a separate group for family, coworkers, and high school buddies. You can also select if you want the shared information to be open to the public, closed only to the group, or completely secret so non-members don’t know your group exists.

The other main addition with Facebook Groups is the new chat feature, which allows each group member to talk to another as a community. So instead of handling 8 independent chats at once, you can now have a real-time chat forum with multiple friends at once.

Facebook Group Chat Feature

Facebook Group Chat Feature

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Full Profile Downloads

If you’ve ever tried quitting your Facebook addiction by removing your profile (good luck), you know how arduous a task it can be. Even more daunting, if you wanted to save all your data, particularly your photos, you had to download them one by one.

But with the new profile download feature, once you decide to leave Facebook, you can download your entire profile, including pictures, all in one swoop. This is a major shift from Facebook’s previous policy of targeting former users with ads or not allowing you to delete your profile at all.

Facebook Profile Download

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Application Dashboard

Once Facebook opened its doors to third-party applications, privacy concerns shot through the roof, not to mention a love-hate relationship with Farmville. So to help users manage all of their applications, Facebook has built a dashboard where you can see all current third party apps and their access rights to your profile. You can also see the last time the app accessed your information.

Ultimately, this is a way for you to better understand and manage the default settings for each application you’re using on Facebook, which helps you control what information is shared.

Facebook Application Dashboard

View access rights from specific Facebook applications

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So how will this affect you and your online store? Quite frankly, it doesn’t. Facebook Groups has no impact on your business’ fan page, and unless you’ve created a privacy-intruding application, you’re fine. My only potential recommendation would be to create a Group for those most loyal to your brand to provide a place to chat about your products and receive exclusive discounts.

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What do you think? Legitimate additions or a PR cover? Will you use any of these new features? Do you think they could positively or negatively affect your online business’ Facebook presence?

Happy (and social) selling!
-Matt Winn, Online Communications Specialist, Volusion

About 

Matt Winn is Volusion’s Senior Brand Manager, where he helps oversee the organization’s branding and communications efforts. Matt has created hundreds of articles, videos and seminars on all things ecommerce, ranging from online marketing to web design and customer experience. Beyond being a certified nerd, Matt is an avid college football fan, enthusiastic home cook and a self-admitted reality TV junkie.

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