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New Facebook Feature Prompts Complaints

As if compulsive checking of a friend’s online profile weren’t easy enough already, Facebook, the popular social-networking site, recently implemented two changes that let even casual users keep up with every update to their friends’ profiles.

And we do mean every update.

Whether Megan changes her relationship status from “single” to “it’s complicated,” or Ike removes Must Love Dogs from his list of favorite movies, Facebook users can now find out on the “News Feed,” which compiles a list of profile updates on the Facebook home page. Complementing the News Feed is the “Mini-Feed,” which tracks a personal profile and documents the Facebook activity of that person.

Complaining that the features represent an invasion of privacy, upset users have created dozens of Facebook groups protesting the new features, which were introduced Tuesday morning. One of the largest groups has more than 225,000 members, a number that seems to grow by the second, who pledge not to update their profile until the new features are removed or significantly modified.

The backlash has been so great that Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s creator, acknowledged the complaints on the Facebook blog, urging users to be patient with the new changes while also asking for their continued feedback. “We’re not oblivious of the Facebook groups popping up about this,” he wrote. “And we agree, stalking isn’t cool; but being able to know what’s going on in your friends’ lives is. This is information people used to dig for on a daily basis, nicely reorganized and summarized so people can learn about the people they care about.”—Stu Woo

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