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Facebook 'Friendship' Tool May Cause Some Squirming

By Erika Morphy TechNewsWorld ECT News Network
Oct 29, 2010 9:25 AM PT

Facebook has introduced another new product to keep its 500 million user base engaged -- Friendship Pages, a new element to a Facebook page that displays content and connections shared between two friends. The page may contain photos in which they've both been tagged, wall posts, comments exchanged, events to which they've both RSVP'd, mutual friends and mutual "likes."

Facebook 'Friendship' Tool May Cause Some Squirming

The pages can be found via links under relevant Wall posts, under relationship stories and under the main photo on one friend's profile page.

Visitors can view the pages if they are friends with one of the people and have permission to view both profiles, according to Wayne Kao, the Facebook executive behind the project.

Beyond that nod to privacy, though, it is unclear what other protections pertain to the offering. For instance, do both people need to give permission to create the page? Kao doesn't say.

Facebook did not respond to TechNewsWorld's request for futher information in time for publication.

Excruciating Detail?

The new tool lays out in clear detail the Facebook relationship between two people, for better or worse. Some scenarios might display photos of exes with their new significant others, to the dismay of former flames; or shine a spotlight on the interactions of two friends who might not wish to spell out how close their relationship is to the rest of the Facebook community.

On a Friendship page, users can see both names and relevant networks. A sidebar to the left includes photos in which both are tagged, as well as navigation links to content categories. These include mutual likes as well as mutual friends.

Wall posts are prominently highlighted in the center of the page, along with events both have attended and comments both have posted. Another tool in the page is a "browse friendships" module that reportedly lets users connect their own names -- or others' -- with another person to see the linkages. Friendship Pages is going live to users on a rolling basis.

For diehard Facebook users, the new tool will likely be a welcome addition, said Jake Wengroff, global director of corporate communication for Frost & Sullivan.

"Every minute, 600,000 pieces of content are shared on Facebook," he told TechNewsWorld. "For more active users -- those with 1,000 or more friends -- keeping up with content from specific friends can be tedious or difficult, and Facebook Friendship pages can provide a solution."

Businesses and Brands Too

Businesses that are using Facebook -- another huge constituency -- will also find the tool useful, noted Wengroff.

"This has a particularly unique application for business, as businesspeople are perhaps most keen to be kept up to date on any and all interactions with clients or prospects on the network," he said.

It is something that Valerie Johnson, founder and CEO of Big Feet Pajama, said she would investigate to see how it might help the brand engage with its fan base.

"We have 147,476 fans, and Facebook has been an important part of our online strategy this year, " Johnson told TechNewsWorld. "I love the idea of this feature."

The opportunity to highlight mutual likes and tagged photos with the products is a welcome one, she said.

Ad Targeting

Eventually, more straightforward business opportunities might result for the Friendship Pages, said Doug Akin, chief engagement officer at Mr Youth. "It seems there is a space for ads on the right side of the general mockup," he told TechNewsWorld.

The opportunity to offer tailored ads will be hard to resist for advertisers, he said.

"I can see companies offering two-for-one deals for restaurants or events the two friends attended by local advertisers. Or, say two people were tagged shopping in a particular store or eating a brand food, such as an Oreo cookie. Oreo, or the store in question, could place an ad on that profile."


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