Facebook Activates New-Look Home Page

Users now will get a Twitter-like real-time stream of posts from their friends and acquaintances on their home page. Changes make the pages more modular; more ads also are showing up.

Facebook, the world's hottest social networking Web site that averages about 16,000 new members each day, updated its home page for the second time in the last eight months on March 11.
Users now will get a real-time stream of posts from their friends and acquaintances on the home page. Users can control the stream of posts using filters on the left side of the page. To hide posts from friends in this stream, users need only to click an "x" in the upper-right corner of a post.
Called The Publisher, this new feature is accompanied by the picture of the person making the post. It closely resembles Twitter, a popular instant chat network. Twitter allows 140 characters in each so-called "tweet"; the Publisher is similar in scope.
On the user's Profile page, the Wall-where users chat with friends in a semi-public area (friends of people chatting can also read the chats)-has undergone changes. All posts now include the photo of the chatter, and the layout is now more modular.
A larger number of ads is also apparent now on both the home and profile pages.
Here are some of the other new features, as described by a Facebook spokesperson:
The Publisher: The Publisher gives people the ability to create a message, attach additional media and share it with all of their friends. All messages shared through the Publisher will appear at the top of a user's friends' News Feeds, and on the user's profile.
Real-Time Stream: News Feed is now a stream of everything that is being intentionally shared by a user's friends and connections, making it simple for them to comment and participate in conversations that are most relevant in real time.
Filters: Users can control exactly who and what they see in their stream by using the filters on the left-hand side of their home page. News Feed is the main filter, which shows users a stream of all the content their friends and connections are sharing. They can also create new filters with Friends Lists or filter by applications, such as photos.
Highlights: The redesigned Highlights section shows users the most important activity that's happened over a longer period of time-as opposed to the stream, which shows users what's happening in real time. The Highlights will feature photos, notes, events, links that connections have commented on, and more.
The new user home page was previewed last week and was rolled out to users beginning March 11.
Last fall, when a number of cosmetic and functional changes were made, a large number of Facebook users protested and started several groups who criticized the changes. Some of those groups still exist.
"Facebook will migrate all users to the new home page slowly, so everyone should have the new home page over the coming days," Facebook spokesperson Hana Mandapat said.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 10 years and more than 3,500 stories at eWEEK, he has distinguished...