The social network is revamping its publishing and privacy capabilities, giving individuals greater control about who sees the status updates, photos and messages they post on the service.
Facebook announced the new features, which are currently in beta testing, in a blog post on Wednesday. The changes provide greater control to limit who sees particular content – pictures of the kids can be viewable by a customized list of family members as opposed to someone’s broader group of Facebook friends.
But the real significance of the move may be in encouraging Facebook users to share their messages with the world at large instead of only with their group of approved group of friends.
Facebook is increasingly emphasizing the “real time” elements of its social network amid competition from microblogging service Twitter. The Twitter stream of real-time messages, viewable to everyone, have gained currency as a way to quickly find out the latest discussion about a particular topic, from the protests in Iran to the new iPhone.
Facebook’s 200 million active users and the content they constantly churn out represent a valuable source of real time news and the changes could help make that content more widely available.