Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Year in Review: Facebook

PCMag.Com - This year saw the official demise of former social giants MySpace and Friendster, and while Google got in the game with Google+, Facebook still reigned supreme, topping 800 million users.

That popularity was not without controversy, however. The social network was reprimanded by U.S. and European regulators on privacy-related issues and faced some backlash over its efforts to share more and more about its users’ activities on sites and services beyond the confines of

There were also the cultural tidbits, from Facebook being a breeding ground for narcissists to the theory that there are only four degrees of Facebook separation rather than six.
Facebook lawyers also kept busy—fending off what might be the final legal challenge from the Winklevoss twins, as well as a suit from a man who claimed to own 84 percent of the social network.

Let’s take a look back at just some of the Facebook-related stories that made headlines this year.

What’s New?

wordpress visitor counterIn the past few years, Facebook has made a number of changes to profiles and the news feed, and 2011 was no exception. Perhaps in response to the burgeoning Google+ and its Circles feature, Facebook provided more control over who can see what on a person’s profile, but the biggest change this year was the addition of Facebook Timeline and expanded social sharing.

Facebook Timeline was announced in September, but only went live for everyone earlier this month. It completely revamps the usual Facebook profile, presenting your information as a digital “This is Your Life.” You can drill down and quickly access every photo, status update, “like,” or link shared in a given year or month. At this point, Timeline is still opt-in and you have seven days to peruse (and censor) a lifetime of Facebook posts before it gets published for your friends’ viewing pleasure. (For more, see PCMag’s Hands On With Facebook Timeline.)

Facebook sharing went beyond photos and status updates this year, however. The social network teamed up with a number of music, movie, and content services—like Spotify, Netflix, Pandora, and Yahoo News—to introduce Facebook-integrated apps that share your viewing, reading, and listening activity. Did you listen to Britney Spears on Spotify or watch an episode of “Parks and Recreation” on Hulu? With the Facebook apps enabled, that information will be shared with your friends.                       More