The proposed "subscribe" feature is in its infancy stage. Facebook has stated that the feature is currently being tested with a very small percentage of its members to see just how practical it is.
One might believe that this subscribe feature was designed by Facebook to mimic Twitter’s follow feature that allows users to keep up with updates from members of their choosing. If taken out of the beta stage and put into action, the Facebook version would let members receive updates of new happenings from friends they subscribed to. For instance, if you subscribed to John Smith’s Facebook, you would receive updates either in your Notifications tab or on your mobile device whenever John posts new content in the form of status updates, notes, new photos, new videos, and possibly more.
Although this sounds like an idea that could really cut out the extra fat from Facebook and let one get the select information they desire, there are some possible drawbacks as well. Some fear that the subscribe feature could lead to an increase in the amount of cyber stalking that occurs. By being able to receive up to the minute updates from a specified user, one could possibly track that person’s life at a rate that is too close for comfort.
While Facebook is a great tool for staying in contact with friends, some feel that being able to monitor their movements too closely is rather unhealthy. When such information is put into the hands of a jealous ex, a competitive coworker, or someone else, it could be used in an unsavory manner. Considering how litigious society currently is, this could also result in legal backlash for Facebook itself.
If Facebook does decide to make the subscribe feature official, they will have to do so carefully. Of course, with the current testing, they are most likely trying to work out all the kinks and are doing their best to identify any possible problems. In all likelihood, the subscribe feature would only be usable on someone who has been approved as a friend. If not, a whole can of worms could be opened by stalkers secretly following a person’s moves.
Will a member be able to tell if someone subscribes to them? Will they be able to accept or deny the request to subscribe? Such are just a couple of questions that Facebook must consider when implementing the feature. Only time will tell whether or not the subscribe feature comes to fruition. If it does, it will be interesting to see how it affects the methods in which members use the popular social networking site.
For more on this topic, visit: http://www.allfacebook.com/facebook-subscribe-to-2010-09