Facebook testing ‘subscribe to’ user feature
New service is ‘tool for stalkers’, say critics
Facebook is testing out a new feature that will enable users to get notifications whenever another Facebook user uses the social-networking site to update their status or share photos with friends.
The “subscribe to” feature allows Facebook users to select which friends or family members they want to receive “alerts” from whenever there is any activity on their Facebook profile.
“We are testing this feature with a small percentage of users,” said Facebook in a statement.
“It lets people subscribe to friends and pages to receive notifications whenever the person they’ve subscribed to updates their status or posts new content, such as photos, videos, links, or notes.”
Some industry watchers have criticised the new feature, saying it amounts to a ‘stalking tool’.
It is unclear whether or not people will be able to “subscribe” to Facebook members that they are not friends with, much in the same way that Twitter users can “follow” someone, even if they are not being followed in return.
“We’re hoping this is an opt-in feature,” said technology website Mashable.
“If Facebook thinks subscriptions are useful for the majority of average users, people who might want to get special notifications for family members’ or loved ones’ activities, they’re also potentially damaging if rolled out to jealous ‘frenemies’, vindictive exes or nosy bosses.”
Facebook has not confirmed if or when the new “subscribe” feature will be rolled out to all user profiles.