Facebook announced major changes to its service at its annual F8 conference last week. The network killed off its “fan” function and did away with its lite interface. In their place Facebook launched Open Graph — a plan to build a Facebook-centric social infrastructure that could affect the whole Internet. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg billed the changes as the beginning of “a Web where the default is social.” While reaction to the changes has been mixed so far, marketers everywhere realize that these new features mean rethinking their social strategies. Read on for a roundup of relevant stories that made it into our e-mail newsletter, SmartBrief on Social Media.
Did Facebook just take over the Web?
Facebook’s new features go way beyond simply providing a set of new widgets and a universal log-in — if all goes according to plan, they’ll effectively create far more social infrastructure for the entire Web, argues MG Siegler. That’s potentially good news for marketers, who’ll be able to harness that social connectivity and draw on a wealth of new data, notes Debra Aho Williamson. Yet some publishers may have concerns about the changes, since the Open Graph system may expose formerly proprietary data to competitors, Caroline McCarthy writes. CNET/The Social blog (4/22), TechCrunch (4/21) , eMarketer
Facebook presents plan to socialize the Web
Facebook has launched a raft of features intended to help the site spread its social tendrils across the entire Web. The site introduced developer tools and consumer-facing features, including an automated version of Facebook Connect that will allow sites and marketers access to a broad trove of information about their visitors’ interests, brand affiliations and social ties. “We are building a Web where the default is social,” says CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The Wall Street Journal (4/22) , The New York Times/Bits blog (4/21) , TechCrunch (4/21)
Lights go out for Facebook Lite
Facebook is shuttering its simplified Web interface, Facebook Lite, after incorporating some design elements into its standard home page. Many marketers hated the Twitter-inspired Lite interface, which was aimed at low-bandwidth surfers and had limited advertising or brand-page access, with one commentator calling the service “a black hole for brands.” ReadWriteWeb.com (4/20) , GigaOm (4/20)
Facebook rethinks how users connect to brands
Facebook has introduced two features aimed at streamlining the way the site handles user interests and streamlining the connection between users and brand pages. “Community Pages” will be used to gather interest-related content, while automatic fan links will be generated between users’ declared interests and relevant brand and community pages. The move is expected to provide a huge boost to popular brands’ fan counts. TechCrunch (4/19) , TechCrunch (4/19)
How Facebook would “Like” to broaden its reach
Facebook is poised to introduce a new “Like” button for third-party websites, a bid to broaden its reach beyond its own home page. The button will be similar to current “Share” buttons, but it will allow Facebook to maintain lasting records of people’s browsing habits and to supply that information to third-party publishers. The New York Times (free registration) (4/18)
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