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New face for social network

Stalkerbook? tableau explores Facebook

Apparently privacy is running quite scarce these days. Or rather, has the word itself evolved into a different meaning?

Considering the major changes that Facebook has recently undertaken, most users are finding that there is now quite little that we can hide from others. During the past few months, Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook crew have been designing, among other changes, a new layout called the "timeline." This addition allows users to view someone's profile and see all of their photos, events and applications stretching back to the beginning of a user's time on Facebook.

Just when we were finally getting used to the incredible face recognition feature in tagging photos, they hit us with this mind-bomb. And any user who has visited his Facebook homepage during the past week-and-a-half or so has noticed the new constant news ticker in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Clearly, Facebook thinks it's a priority that we are updated on the actions of every single friend at every single moment. When Zuckerberg first unveiled the major changes to the site in mid-September, many of Facebook's nearly 800 million users were upset that their personal lives would be completely revealed to the entire web. After all, one would not normally find the vast amount of available information about a person unless he had gone diligently searching for it. Zuckerberg has since made some specific clarifications about the changes, however. For example, only your friends can see your timeline, and the information revealed - photos, statuses, events that you've attended, etc. - is already located somewhere within your profile.

Additionally, Zuckerberg feels that his changes will exponentially increase the amount of sharing users will be doing. To understand the projected amount of sharing mathematically, Zuckerberg even designed his "Law of Sharing" which means that the amount you share today is double the amount you shared a year ago, and what you share a year from now will be double what you shared today. Only the future Facebook will be able to determine the accuracy of this theory. But with the overwhelmingly share-friendly additions to the site, I would not doubt the high likelihood of it.

So, why did they do it? Social media experts speculate that some features, such as the ability to "subscribe" to people without befriending them, were motivated by increased competition with other social sites such as Twitter and Google+. Others, however, think it has more to do with the bottom line: money. The addition of so many extra apps and features - enabling us to find out more information than we'd normally want to know about our friends - leads to users spending more time on the site. This invites companies to increase advertising on the site, essentially resulting in more bucks in the bank for Facebook.

But quite honestly, in this day and age we are obsessed and intrigued by such features that technology has made available to us. We will cry and whine about the "stalker-ness" of the new Facebook now, but soon enough we will all be used to the new features, and likely consumed in a new level of addiction to the site. I give it a month.