Facebook tests improved posting tool

The new version of Publisher will give members different privacy options for sharing their posts

Facebook has started to test a new version of its Publisher, the tool that members can use to post notes, status updates, links, photos, videos and other content on their profile "wall" and share them with their friends.

The new Publisher version, available during this beta period to a segment of Facebook members, gives people more granular options to control with whom they share their postings.

Options range from sharing a posting with "everyone" on or off Facebook to sharing it only with hand-picked contacts.

"For example, you might be comfortable with anyone enjoying the video you took at a concert, but only want your family to see photos from your family vacation," wrote Facebook engineer Olaoluwa Okelola in an official blog on Wednesday.

In March, Facebook started giving members the option to share all or some parts of their profile with everyone on Facebook; previously, people could only do that with hand-picked "friends" or members of the same geographical, school or employer networks.

However, it seems that the "everyone" setting for the new Publisher will go even further, by letting Facebook members share their posts even with people who don't have an account on the social-networking site.

This would move Facebook into closer competition with Twitter, the micro-blogging and social-networking site that has experienced massive growth in the past year.

Twitter's simple and convenient interface, which lets people easily post, share and search short text messages has filled a need for simple, real-time updates of what people and organizations are doing at any given moment. By default, posts on Twitter are available to anyone on the Internet.

Facebook has been recently taking steps to replicate that micro-blogging functionality within its site, which was built as a much more sophisticated and closed social network with tight privacy controls.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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