UPDATED 13:19 EST / OCTOBER 06 2010

Facebook Groups, Profile Downloads and Application Dashboards

Aside from new Groups, Facebook is feeding new features to a few areas of the social network, all aimed at giving users more control over the data they share, with whom they share it, and what can be done with shared content for personal use.

During the Facebook event today, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed some new features in addition to the new Groups. They all involve better control over your content, based on individual relationships you’ve set up within the network.

For starters, you’ll be able to download your own information, giving you a hard copy of your profile, photos, and other content. It’s an option under your Account Settings, which indicates that Facebook is promoting a verified and rather serious slant on this particular feature. It is sensitive and private data, so putting a “download this” button alongside every post on your wall would not be conducive to Facebook’s current plight.  Rather, this looks to address larger matters of data portability, trusting consumers with their own data.  It may be an advantage to other web services like Google, but it’s a necessary step for Facebook nonetheless.

A new dashboard for your Facebook applications also gives you a centralized location for managing the data being shared across these apps. Manage sharing settings from here, and see when an app last accessed your data. It’s good that Facebook is creating an interface for this specific purpose, as it will become a mainframe for consumer activity moving forward. It’s a concept every major platform owner will need to adopt, including Google and Apple, as bringing in user engagement around the management of their apps will be a primary (and extremely valuable) point of access.

Facebook is doing a great deal in the way of partnerships with other retailers, advertisers, game developers, publishers… the list goes on, and won’t be ending anytime soon. So Facebook is going to have to ensure consumer data privacy and safety, as well as offer a usable way to manage this information to make them comfortable with all the Amazon purchases and foursquare check-ins they’re sharing (sometimes unknowingly) on Facebook.

All important steps for Facebook, as privacy has been a major sticking point for the network and its development. As the social network moves more into the social consumerism realm, addressing the needs of its users is a prerequisite if the network wants to continue aggregating consumer profiles around their communication, media, transactions and preferences.  See here for Zuckerberg’s full release.


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