Facebook Appears To Be Working On A “Private Friends” Feature
Social media is very much a double edged sword: it’s easy to overshare or for the “wrong” person ends up seeing something you wish they wouldn’t. I’ve already written about some of the strategies that the social networks could use here. That’s one idea but it looks like Facebook is borrowing other ideas to work towards another solution. Facebook could be working on allowing users to have a second, private (or perhaps that should be “more private”) profile. The idea here could be that when we are sharing and posting on Facebook, we are able to share to our chosen favourite friends, rather than to our mass audience of friends.
Of course, Facebook already allows us to share information with our friends or the public, but does not currently differentiate between groups of friends. This is something Google+ does with its circles, so perhaps Facebook is taking this idea? Currently on Facebook, we can only have friends but we can specifically exclude some from our posts. The new feature might be similar to having two lists: friends (including family, colleagues, associates, bosses, neighbours, and that guy you met at a conference two years ago) and private friends (your personal collection of friends and loved ones). This is exactly what Google+ does, but Facebook has a much larger active audience.
This screenshot is from Matt Navarra’s Twitter account and shows a non-functional screen from the Android app, which could be encouraging users to set up a private profile. This feature is promising: it might mean that with a little bit of setting up, it should be easy to share that risque coffee joke with your chosen personal friends, whilst excluding your current boss, your next boss, your gran, and your favourite barista. With employers using Facebook as a means of filtering out potential hires, everybody in the working market should really be moderating what they say on social media… and this of course defeats the point for many, but if this new feature goes live it should help.