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Facebook plans to roll out a major redesign of user profiles at its f8 developer conference this week, Mashable has learned.

Details about the redesign are sparse, but two sources familiar with Facebook’s plans (who have asked to remain anonymous) have told us that the redesign is “major” and will make Facebook

profiles nexuses for consuming content.

The profile changes will be part of a wider launch, one that will include launch of a music and media platform.

Here’s what we know so far about the profile redesign:

The redesigned profiles will be more “sticky,” says one source. One of the goals of the new profiles is to get users to stay on them for longer.
We already knew Facebook is launching a media platform at f8. However, we’ve also learned that the platform — which will include music and video from partner sites — will display the media content a user is watching or listening to on their profiles. Essentially, when you’re listening to Lady Gaga on Spotify, your friends can see and access that on your Facebook profile. This confirms a recent New York Times report.
The redesigned profiles are part of a larger push into social ecommerce. We don’t exactly know what that means, but we’ve heard whispers that Facebook intends to give Facebook Credits more prominence. We’ve also heard that a Facebook app store may emerge at f8.
Facebook’s push into ecommerce may be related Project Spartan, an HTML5-based mobile platform rumored to be launching soon.
Facebook is being tight-lipped about the changes; the company declined to comment on this story. However, more and more pieces of Facebook’s big launch continue to leak out as the excitement builds for f8 (feel free to send us screenshots if you have any) The company is currently under lockdown, trying to fix the final bugs before Thursday’s big launch.

What do you think Facebook will launch on Thursday? Let us know in the comments.

As seen on Mashable.com

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Facebook has launched a Subscribe button that lets you follow the public updates of others,

 regardless of whether you’re Facebook friends.

The new subscription options are part of Facebook’s effort to give users more control over their Facebook accounts and their News Feeds. “Facebook has always been working on giving users more control,” said Facebook Product Manager Naomi Gleit.

Starting Wednesday, users will begin seeing a Subscribe button alongside the “Message” and “Poke” button on Facebook profiles. The button gives you a way to follow the content others are posting without actually becoming Facebook friends with them. In a lot of ways, it’s like following somebody on Twitter.

This button works a bit differently based on whether you’re looking at a friend’s profile. If you subscribe to the profile of somebody who is not your friend, you will get access to his or her public status updates in your News Feed. You can fine tune what type of updates you see. For example, you could subscribe to my Facebook Page and choose only to see my status updates and ignore my game or photo updates.

If the user is your friend, subscribing gives you the ability to granularly control how much of his or her content enters your stream. If you want to see every post your significant other is posting to Facebook, you can set the Subscribe button to show “All Updates” in your News Feed. On the other hand, if you want to ignore one of your acquaintances unless he gets engaged, then you can select the “Only Important” option under the Subscribe button.

The Subscribe feature is totally optional — you can choose not to subscribe to anybody, and you can choose to turn off the Subscribe button on your profile if you don’t want to gain any subscribers.

Much like Twitter, the total number of people subscribing to your public posts and the number of people you’re subscribed to appear on your profile. This number does not include pending friend requests. Existing friend requests will not turn into subscribers automatically, but Gleit says that going forward anybody who sends you a friend request will automatically be subscribed to your public updates (unless you turn the Subscribe button off).

The Subscribe option makes public Facebook posts more useful, especially if you start gaining an audience. However, it provides yet another layer of complexity on top of an already complex product. It could spur more public sharing a la Twitter, or it could raise more privacy concerns for a social network that has had its share of privacy controversies.

What do you think of the Subscribe button? Is it a smart addition to Facebook, or is it a useless feature? Let us know in the comments.

  

 
As seen on Mashable.com
 

Yesterday, we outlined a bit of what we’ve heard about Facebook’s upcoming f8 conference. One big launch will be their official foray into music. Today, we’ve heard more about that launch.Screen Shot 2011-09-10 at 12.11.01 PM

One thing we’ve heard from a very good source is that a key aspect of the service will be “scrobbling”. The term, made popular by Last.fm, means that when you listen to a song, it gets sent to your profile without you have to do anything. I assume there will be a way to turn this off, or a way for you to selectively share songs, but this is a key to the service.

Not that a post-music-to-profile feature should be surprising. Facebook’s core feature is the feed, and music will now make it even more robust. In fact, depending on how popular Facebook Music is, it could end up being one of the biggest sources of feed content.

And I think it will be pretty popular based on the second bit of information we’ve heard. Facebook Music will also apparently offer content resolution between all the different music partners involved. This means that if you’re listening to Rdio and a track goes up on your profile, a MOG user can click on the track and still hear the exact same song in full. Essentially, you’ll only need to sign up for oneof the major music services Facebook is launching with to be able to access most content (there undoubtedly will be some songs available on one service but not another, so it probably won’t be fully seamless, but I assume you’ll be able to hear previews regardless).

This content resolution will likely be the most important aspect of Facebook Music. It turns Facebook into the great social music unifier. You can share songs without having to worry if your friends will be able to hear it or not based on what streaming service they use.

It’s not clear what partners Facebook has gotten to agree to this unification beyond Rdio, MOG, and Spotify. It’s certainly possible that while other services will be a part of Facebook Music, those three will be the key ones.

In terms of functionality, we’ve also heard that there will be a standard player that plays music without interruption from page to page as you browse Facebook. Om Malik previously reported on the persistent controls as well as a larger Music Dashboard area. Malik stated that the player would be at the bottom of Facebook, but we’ve heard that Facebook has been testing variations on this player, so it’s not yet clear where it will reside (top, bottom, etc).

Update: Inside Facebook’s Josh Constine has an interesting thought: what if the desktop software team at Facebook was working on a scrobbler that could also work with iTunes to import listens? Those tracks could then by matched and played via Spotify, MOG, Rdio, etc, on Facebook Music itself. Constine notes that he doesn’t have any inside information on this, but he did outline that possibility following our post from May on Facebook’s Seattle-based desktop software team.

Even if that isn’t a part of the initial roll-out, this makes a lot of sense down the road for Facebook Music. Or what about a Last.fm partnership for the service? And what would Apple think of all this?

As seen on techcrunch.com

Facebook has begun testing a slew of changes to the News Feed, including friend list filters and Smart Lists that automatically categorize your friends.

The changes seem to be aimed at making the content within the News Feed more relevant. These changes, as far as we can ascertain from screenshots sent to us, show that Facebook is dividing
the News Feed into lists, much likeGoogle+ has done with Circles. “Feed filters make it easy to see a selected set of friend’s updates in one place and share exclusive with them,” Facebook’s guide to the new feature states.A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on this story.One of the most interesting aspects of the revamped News Feed is the addition of Smart Lists. Smart Lists automatically sort your friends into a work list, a list for classmates and a list for friends who live within 50 miles of your city. This makes it easy to post updates just to your college friends or to talk about a local party with just your nearby friends.

The changes are likely to be construed as a response to the rise of Google+, whose Circles feature makes it easy to share content with smaller groups. Facebook has always had Friend Lists as a feature, but less than 5% of users use them in any meaningful way. These changes are designed to fix that.

Check out the screenshots below, and let us know what you think of the revamped Facebook News Feed.

As seen on Mashable.com

Providing free music to more than 750 million people seems like a no-brainer.

(CNN) — Facebook will launch a music service later this month,according to recent news coverage. Details on the new platform are scarce, but Ben Parr at Mashable reports that Facebook is partnering with top music services Spotify, MOG and Rdio to let users stream music on Facebook.com.

For the uninitiated: Spotify is a service that lets you listen to virtually any song for free on your desktop, with an occasional (but infrequent) ad. Users can pay a small fee to remove the ads or use the service on their phones.

That’s right — Facebook may be about to unleash unlimited free music to all its users. Music is enjoyed almost universally, and free music services have been among the fastest-growing on the web — Napster, to name but one.

Providing free music to more than 750 million people (assuming Facebook Music launches globally) seems like a no-brainer: Why wouldn’t everyone in the world want to listen to and share free music with friends? This is the web equivalent of giving away free ice cream.

And yet.

Simply putting a product in front of millions of people is no guarantee of success, Pete Cashmore says.
Simply putting a product in front of millions of people is no guarantee of success, Pete Cashmore says.

I’ve been wrong on Facebook so many times before.

I was wrong on Facebook Places, the social network’s challenger to location-based startups.

“It’s inevitable that Facebook will surpass Foursquare in the check-ins race,” I declared more than a year ago.

While I can’t verify that Facebook Places didn’t surpass Foursquare in terms of the check-ins it provided, Facebook no longer feels that it’s viable as a stand-alone product: These location features are being merged into status updates and brand pages, the company announced recently.

I was wrong, too, about Facebook Deals. In my predictions for 2011, I saw the service as a potential rival to market leader Groupon. After all, how could you provide a “50% off” coupon for a local business and not have a small percentage of Facebook’s massive user base accept?

Wrong! Facebook Deals is set to shut down in the coming weeks, with a few limited offers remaining on business pages. Meanwhile, the daily deals space is coming under fire, and even Groupon is drawing extensive criticism as it prepares for its IPO.

How can Facebook take something popular, provide it free of charge to its 750 million users, and yet fail to become the market leader? Perhaps the company simply isn’t able to devote the resources required to nurture so many non-core products? Or perhaps Facebook users are so focused on their news feeds that no product can take off unless it’s inserted into this stream from the start.?

Whatever the reason, one thing is clear: For Facebook, simply putting a product in front of hundreds of millions of people is no guarantee of success.

I find it hard to imagine a situation in which Facebook users decide that free music isn’t for them. Virtually all of us enjoy music. If Facebook can’t make this work, then giving away “unlimited free money” might also prove a challenge.

No, the biggest roadblock to Facebook Music won’t be the users; It’ll be the record companies who, having already cut deals with Spotify et al., decide to rescind the offer. Another threat: Spotify and its ilk may realize that giving away free music to millions of people isn’t the most sustainable of business models.

Or maybe I’m wrong again: Perhaps Facebook will fail to convince us that free ice cream is delicious.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Pete Cashmore.

As seen on CNN.com

The Social Gaming Development Series is supported by Level 3 Communications, an international

 provider of fiber-based communications services. Level 3 is committed to carrying digital media from anywhere to anywhere, in whatever format needed.

Around 68.7 million Americans will be playing social games by 2012, according to analysis firm eMarketer. A number like that might seem unreal, but it makes perfect sense. There’s something extraordinarily appealing about logging into Facebook or picking up your smartphone and instantly playing a game alongside countless other people across the world.

But why do the best social games work so well? How do they manage to connect us in ways we wouldn’t have thought possible just ten years ago? Let’s look at five of the most popular social games and try to figure out why they’re hits.


1. FarmVille


 

 

 

 

FarmVille is doing a lot of things right, really — that’s why close to 10% of all Facebook users play FarmVille. But one of the most ingenious mechanics in Zynga’s farm simulation game is the neighbor system. It’s easy enough to harvest crops and build up your farm alone, but when you do it with your Facebook friends, your productivity skyrockets exponentially. And if you’ve ever hopped onto your news feed only to be subjected to a deluge of FarmVille updates, you know just how tempting it can be to click around and see what the fuss is all about.

Either this is a metaphor for real farms, where workers have to cooperate to stay alive, or it’s just a ploy to get people to recruit one another so Zynga can harvest all of your money. The gaming company has used the social promotion lessons it learned from FarmVille to launch CityVille last year, which has already become the most popular game on Facebook with almost 100 million users (twice that of FarmVille).


2. Zuma Blitz


 

 

 

 

PopCap’s addictive ball matching game is fun to play in both short and long doses, but its real strength lies in its scoreboard. As you go about your business in Zuma’s Incan temple, you’ll see a set of rankings on the right side of your screen. Those rankings are constantly updated with your friends’ high scores, allowing you to talk smack as you compete with one another for slot number one. It’s a brilliant, simple, and effective technique that keeps players hooked for one simple reason: Bragging rights.


3. Words With Friends


 

 

 

 

Imagine if Scrabble was available on your phone 24/7. Now imagine that instead of playing against a computerized opponent, you could compete with any of your friends whenever you wanted, picking when to play each word at your own personal discretion. That’s Words With Friends.

Scrabble has always been immensely popular, so it’s easy to see why online Scrabble is just as lauded.Words With Friends works because it successfully emulates a classic game that everybody already understands — no need to worry about learning complicated new rules or devising intricate strategies. It’s justScrabble!


4. Mafia Wars


 

 

 

 

Between The GodfatherThe SopranosGoodfellas, and the countless other mob stories that have been both critically and commercially acclaimed over the years, it’s not hard to see why a game like Mafia Wars works. Though this Facebook mob simulator — which lets you recruit friends and form your own criminal organization — can’t be fairly compared to any of those classic pieces of pop culture, it’s certainly an impressive game that you can sink way too much time into. Teaming up with your buddies in order to fight mobsters, perform “jobs,” and pretend to be criminals is way more fun than it should be.


5. World of Warcraft


 

 

 

 

Sure, when you think World of Warcraft, you might picture the nerdier set — those who may have sacrificed hygiene and sleep to reach one more experience level. But the truth is that WoW is populated with players of all sorts of backgrounds, from rural housewives to NFL punters. The game currently boasts over 12 million subscribers, mostly because of its social capabilities. Instead of just fighting monsters or leveling up a character by yourself, you get to do it with thousands of other players and interact with them in many different ways ranging from personal e-mails to public online chats.

Most strikingly, World of Warcraft allows you to live a veritable second life. Girls can pretend to be boys; boys can pretend to be girls; human accountants can pretend to be elven mages. You can make friends and enemies, form relationships and even take on an entirely new persona. For better or worse, some people enjoy socializing on WoW more than real life, which may make it the most powerful social game out there. Oh, andMila Kunis plays it, which might be a good reason to start.


Series Supported by Level 3


 

 

 

 

The Social Gaming Development Series is supported by Level 3 Communications, an international provider of fiber-based communications services. Level 3 is committed to carrying digital media from anywhere to anywhere, in whatever format needed. Its services can connect content from creation to consumption, over one of the world’s most scalable end-to-end networks.

Facebook security flaw – or, perhaps, a misunderstanding – lets Page admins boot the creator of the original Page from admin status, effectively hijacking the Page, Naked Security reports.

One could argue that this is working as intended: if the creator of a Facebook Page lets someone else in as admin, they have the same administrative rights as them, right? Wrong. Facebook’s FAQ clearly states that “the original creator of the Page may never be removed by other Page admins.”

Unfortunately, as visible in the video embedded below, a newly appointed page admin can remove the Page creator’s admin status, which can be very nasty in certain cases. Today, Facebook Pages are more than fun, they’re a serious part of business promotion and losing administrative access to a Page can lead to host of problems.

Is it a security flaw or simply an error in Facebook’s FAQ? According to the Register, it’s the latter. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter: either way it will confuse users and cause problems, since the FAQ says one thing and the reality is very different.

We’ve asked Facebook for comment but haven’t yet heard from them.

Have you ever had a Facebook Page hijacked by another admin? Please, share your experiences in the comments.

 

As seen on Mashable.com

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