Some students ‘freaked’ by new Facebook feature

Both UW-Madison student papers, The Daily Cardinal and the Badger Herald, run stories today about many students’ reaction to Facebook’s new “news feed” feature as an annoyance and even an invasion of privacy. According to the reports, the Facebook news feed “allows users to view the exact times their fiends add photos, update ther profiles, leave wall posts and joing groups — even going as far as to notify friends when couples break up — and has been described by some users as ‘stalker-like.'” For example, “if a user deletes ‘pina coladas’ from her list of interests and adds ‘long walks on the beach,’ all her friends will know about it via the news feed.” UW-Madison journalism professor Robert Dreschel is quoted as saying “features like these highlight the need for students to be careful about the Internet.” Facebook representatives reply that users can “completely control the information they share with others,” according to the reports.

Upsdate 13 September: On the Facebook blog Mark Zuckerberg responds to the criticism with an apology and detailed information about how the problem is being addressed, showing an excellent grasp of good communication policy.

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