Facebook Founder Promises Secret Groups
At a press event in his Palo Alto headquarters today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and friends launched Facebook Groups, a new product designed to map all real world groups on Facebook. Groups may sound like a "been there, done that" concept, but Zuckerberg contends there is "no similarity at all" between the old product and the new one.
There will be three types of groups: open, closed and secret, Zuckerberg said. All Facebook users will be able to see an open group, including its members and content. Closed groups are like a college fraternity ― everyone knows they exist and who their members are, but chapter meetings are closed to all but members. Secret groups are secret. No one can see they exist, let alone who is a member or what is discussed. Think Skull and Bones, Yale University.
Groups have been optimized for 25, 50 or even 100 members, but as size crosses 250, they become too noisy, so some features such as group chat will be automatically turned off, Andrew Bosworth, Facebook engineer, said.
Any member of a group can invite a friend to join. And if you no longer wish to be part of a group, "you can just leave," Zuckerberg said. In other words, unlike friend requests where a user has the option to accept or ignore, users can be added to a group without their approval and will have to leave in full view of the group.
Groups are similar to friends lists that separate a user's friends into groups, so posts can only be seen by the designated group. Zuckerberg said only five percent of the 500 million users ever made a friend list. But groups allow any member to add friends, which creates the potential for far more participation in Zuckerberg's social graph , the mapping of real world relationships across the Internet.
"I can see 80 percent coverage over time," Zuckerberg said. "A relatively small percentage of the user base should get it done for everyone."
Facebook Groups will roll out to users beginning this afternoon. And here's a social incentive from Facebook: " If you add someone, your friend will get immediate access" to Facebook Groups.
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