Facebook moves to let users 'like' entire Internet

April 22, 2010 9:43:17 AM PDT
The social networking site Facebook has already revolutionized the way people interact online, but Wednesday, the company announced plans to take it to a new level.

In a wrinkled sweatshirt and jeans, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg unveiled his company's plan to change web surfing as we know it at the annual f8 developers conference in San Francisco.

"We think that what we have to show you today will be the most transformative thing we've ever done for the web," he said.

The world's largest social network is about to get even more social.

With the click of a "like" button, users can share with Facebook friends articles, photos, restaurants, anything they like. And websites will be able to tailor pages specifically to a Facebook user's interests.

It all makes it easier for Facebook users to bring their friends along as they surf the Internet.

"Anyone can use it," Zuckerberg said. "Google can crawl it, other social networks can use it, Pandora can use it if they found a reason to, So that's really what we're trying to do here, is make it so all these systems work together a lot better."

But analysts say the changes have deep privacy implications.

"When I'm going around, the news stories that I'm reading or websites that I'm visiting, I might not like that information to be exposed," Greg Sterling said. "It's still unclear to me from this how much of that behavior is exposed."

What is clear is Facebook's growing popularity -- it now has more than 400 million users.

David Kirkpatrick has a soon-to-be published book on what he calls "The Facebook Effect."

"They are increasingly the company that owns identity for roughly 500 million people, far, far more than anybody else has even thought of owning," he said.

So far, Facebook followers seem willing to take the privacy risks.

"I always link articles I like to my friends anyway, so this could kind of cut out the middle man, like a chat program, they can just look on Facebook," Eusong Huynh said.

"I think a lot of that responsibility lies with the user; that's the first step right, what you choose to put out there," Guadalupe Nickell said.

Zuckerberg says it will take a few months before users experience the full scope of these changes, but anyone who logs on to Facebook as of today will already see the invitation to connect friends to their favorite websites.


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