Facebook Unveils New Site Design amid Growth Surge

Apr 12, 2007

Facebook is set to unveil new features that mark its progress from a dating site for college kids into a mainstream network tool.

Facebook, which has enjoyed explosive growth relative to rival social networking sites since a membership crisis six months ago, is set to unveil new features on Wednesday that mark its progress from a dating site for college kids into a mainstream network tool.

The Palo Alto-based site founded three years ago by then Harvard undergraduate Mark Zuckerberg, 22, has been quietly introducing new features by soliciting feedback from tens of thousands of users, seeking to avoid abrupt product releases.

Facebook, the No. 2 U.S. social network after News Corp.'s MySpace, met with a sudden privacy backlash from its users last September after introducing a design that revealed more personal information about users than many wanted known.

But after a rapid response to online protests that involved hundreds of thousands of its members, Facebook subsequently saw its growth explode to 18 million active users from around 7.5 million active users before the membership crisis.

On Wednesday, Facebook is introducing new features designed to simplify how users navigate through individual member profiles to keep tabs on friends and associates. It will offer so-called portal pages that give users a bird's eye view of groups they belong to and of possible groups they might join.

"You can only see the networks you are in and the networks you would be able to join," Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, said in a phone interview.

Facebook counts more than 19 million registered users across 47,000 regional, work-related, college or high-school networks. The site's popularity is tied to the control users have over what other members see, which discourages members from cloaking their identify in the anonymity of many sites, so much so that many members post their mobile phone numbers.

Seeking to avert any new surprises for its members, Facebook has invited more than 100,000 users to comment on the site's redesigned features over the past several weeks.

The feedback led Facebook to make changes to the final product, including giving users the ability to control if an event or group is publicized on the community portal pages that connect together member profiles in any Facebook sub-network.

"A lot of the changes are very subtle. We make small changes instead of huge things," said a chastened Zuckerberg.

Office workers and other older users have been allowed to join Facebook networks, not just college or high school students tied to particular schools or universities. More than 50 percent of users are outside of college, Zuckerberg said of the change.

Data from measurement firm comScore Networks confirms that Facebook's growth has surged since its stumble in September. Visitors to Facebook have jumped 75 percent since then to 24.8 million worldwide in February. Off a far larger base, MySpace grew 26 percent to 98.5 million visitors in the same period.

Copyright 2007 by Ziff Davis Media, Distributed by United Press International

Explore further: Google Trends info is placed on inbox duty for subscribers

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

In new social networks, anonymity is all the rage

Mar 30, 2014

When mobile social app Yik Yak swept into Auburn University, some of the coolest kids were quick to start posting on it. But no one knows who is saying what because the comments are anonymous.

Sociologists find emerging condition, 'cyberasociality'

Mar 28, 2014

(Phys.org) —Not every single user – among the billions collecting friends and followers on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and other social media platforms – is perfectly comfortable conducting his or her social ...

Review: Mobile app shows where to find friends

Feb 20, 2014

SocialRadar is a new mobile application that could become a cool way to find nearby friends and discover other interesting people living or working in the same neighborhood. Or it could just end up being another creepy example ...

Recommended for you

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

Apr 18, 2014

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

Apr 18, 2014

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

White House updating online privacy policy

Apr 18, 2014

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Hackers of Oman news agency target Bouteflika

Hackers on Sunday targeted the website of Oman's official news agency, singling out and mocking Algeria's newly re-elected president Abdelaziz Bouteflika as a handicapped "dictator".

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.

Low tolerance for pain? The reason may be in your genes

Researchers may have identified key genes linked to why some people have a higher tolerance for pain than others, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual ...

How to keep your fitness goals on track

(HealthDay)—The New Year's resolutions many made to get fit have stalled by now. And one expert thinks that's because many people set their goals too high.