By Alexandra Burlacu | Nov 14, 2012 12:45 PM EST
Facebook is well-known for being intrusive at times, and last week the social network has quietly introduced a new layout for its Friendship Pages.
Most users may not even be aware of this change, because it does not ask or require the user's permission. Long story short, those listed as "In a Relationship" on Facebook now have a couples page on the social network, whether they want to or not. That couples page is basically a one-stop-shop profile page listing said relationship in automatically selected photos, tagged posts, conversations, shared gifts, events, and so on.
It's like a digital scrapbook, and online public display of affection (PDA) that nobody asked for. The page also includes the logged relationship status, a list of mutual friends, likes, shared events, as well as a "Share Friendship" button for those who want to make their relationship even more public. Users can view their shared page at www.facebook.com/us. For users listed as single, the link will invite them to edit their relationship status.
The Friendship Pages are not something new. Facebook officially introduced them back in October 2010 as standalone pages mapping users' relationship with particular friends, collecting their time together on the site for an online scrapbook.
Wayne Kao, the Facebook software engineer who created the feature, said at the time that Friendship Pages aimed to recreate the magic of users' favorite Facebook moments, allowing them to browse old photos, status updates, or memorable comments.
"You'd remember that first Wall post with your best friend or the funny photo from a night out," Kao said at the time. "You may even see that moment when your favorite couple met at a party you all attended."
The main change with the new Friendship Pages is that now Facebook has created an Internet address - Facebook.com/us - that redirects users to their relationship. Also, all of the old Friendship and Relationship pages are being updated to look more like the new Timeline.
The issue with the new couples pages stems from the fact that it's there whether the user wants it to or not. A random photo is automatically selected for the said relationship, and the user has no option to change or remove that photo. It's there, and all shared moments between two individuals listed as "In a Relationship" on Facebook are also there for everyone to see.
While Facebook was most likely hoping for positive feedback, most people seem irked by the new changes, perceiving them as an invasion of privacy. The Telegraph's Emma Barnett even wrote that she may dump her husband on Facebook just to get rid of the new couple's page.
"Please take note Facebook executives," wrote Barnett. "I enjoy being able to share the information I wish and curate in the way I want. I have no desire for your technology teams to help me organize my photos - nor do I wish to have a shared 'couples' Facebook profile with my other half on which you automatically curate our relationship."
"Mr. Zuckerberg: by all means keep giving people new tools - as you did when you created Facebook," she added, addressing Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. "But when you start doing things for us - the experience is anything but social or remotely positive. You have infantilized my relationship for me with the creation of www.facebook.com/us. Only I should get to do that."
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