Thursday 22 November 2012

Facebook's 'couple' pages earn users' ire

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Facebook has changed the dynamics of relationships today. While linking your profile to that of your beau’s or better half’s was completely fine, the social networking website added options such as ‘it’s complicated’ to the mix. And now, silently, Facebook has rolled out a mandatory ‘couples page’ feature embedded within the timeline.

If your relationship status on Facebook is ‘in a relationship with’ or ‘married,’ you have a whole new page dedicated to posts and moments shared between you and your partner. The page can be accessed by getting on to A timeline like page is generated with half-and-half pictures of you and your better half as display pictures as well as a cover photo.

The feature is not entirely a new one but is in fact an extension of the released in 2010 ‘friendships’ one where posts and photographs shared between two people could be viewed by anyone in separate tabs. The virtual ‘scrapbook’ now looks like a timeline does, where you can scroll down to view events and posts shared by any two people.

Clearly, the move has not gone down well with most users with blogger Suzanne Choney calling it ‘creepy.’ She adds, “Its one thing for me to share photos of my beloved on my Facebook page, but another to have a page automatically generated of ‘us.’” Most other Facebook users are irked with what they think is an attack on individuality in today’s age.

The new page, though, has its advantages where you can see how your privacy settings are on certain posts and life events and can change them easily, a feature that can come in handy if you wish to hide your relationship status from the bosses or the ex. Unfortunately, this has not been a consolation for many who’re seeing red over Facebook’s almost backhanded way of calling this change a part of a ‘redesign.’

It’s no surprise then that Facebook has come under fire for its recent changes that pose serious risks to user privacy. New changes to the site have seen newly uploaded profile pictures becoming publicly visible by default as are mobile uploads. Users need to manually change the privacy settings to make these photos visible only to their friend lists, every time a new picture is uploaded.

Another talking point has been the retooled algorithm EdgeRank that is weeding out ‘unwanted’ posts by pages liked by the user that has drawn the ire of advertisers and brands on the site. According to the algorithm, if a user has interacted with content from a page in the past, posts from the page are more likely to appear in the news feed, but if a user has ignored posts in the past, however, it’s less likely that further posts from the source will show up in their feed.

Navigating the labyrinth of Facebook’s complex privacy settings has always been a sore spot for most of the users who would rather just enjoy the experience of connecting with family and friends and the newest ‘us’ feature is only likely to add to it.

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