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Facebook Announces Groups Feature and Enhances Data Visibility


Facebook has announced a new Groups feature that it said makes it easier to share information with one specific group of Facebook friends, rather than everyone.

The new feature essentially creates a small pocket of private space on Facebook and, for example, means you can share family pictures, without having to make them available to everyone you know. The default setting on Groups is closed, so that only those that have been added to the group can see its content.

In a blog post Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg said, “We've long heard that people would find Facebook more useful if it were easier to connect with smaller groups of their friends instead of always sharing with everyone they know. For some it's their immediate family and for others it's their fantasy football league, but the common concern is always some variant of, "I'd share this thing, but I don't want to bother 250 people. Or my grandmother. Or my boss."

Interestingly, Zuckerberg admitted that it had attempted to create algorithms to automatically create groups of friends, but that there was no reliable way to distinguish between a regular professional contact and a personal friend – hence the manual approach.

Other new Group features added include being able to share documents with that group, or even instant chat to the whole group at once.

Facebook’s group feature is available immediately, but users will have to wait for App updates to be able to use the feature on their smartphones.

In response to Facebook’s increasing integration with third-party sites Zuckerberg also announced a new dashboard feature that provides a single view of all applications that have access to your data. This will make it possible for users to keep tabs on who has access to their data and revoke that access from one place.

Finally, in another important move, you’ll also be able to download everything you’ve ever posted on Facebook to your computer in one go. The ability to do this will be protected by security measures such as answering a selection of questions.

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