Facebook just launched their newest feature, Friendship Pages. This new type of profile page highlights various types of communication between friends on Facebook. Users can access their Friendship Pages by clicking on the tab “View You and [friend]” beneath their photo on their own personal profile.
This friendship profile is designed just like a profile page, generating the profile photo randomly from one of the friends’ photo albums that includes both friends. The page also includes a list of all mutual friends, a few cherished wall-to-wall postings, a list of memorable events both friends attended, comments shared over the years that Facebook was kind enough to keep, and a list of things both friends “like.”
Then the whole Friendshop Pages thing gets creepy. At the top right corner of a Friendship Page is a feature called “Browse Friendships” – as in other friendships, not your own. As the critics warned, this is where one is welcome to speculate at the potential of affairs, backstabbers and any other kind of relationship that may or may not actually exist, but Facebook thought you should know about anyway. The good (or, for the paranoid, bad) thing is, that a Facebook user can only see a friendship page between two people they are friends with. A sample list of three friendships you may want to browse is generated for you, but you can also enter two names of friends to see their Friendship page.
There don’t seem to be any privacy settings to change who can see the information streamlined into a Friendship Page. Of course, this information is already available if you pick through profiles deep enough; Facebook has, essentially, just made it easier and faster. Facebook has only taken a crosscut of data and put it all in one place, and this raises an interesting question of what other combination of data – conversations, photos, etc – are potentially available for similar organization and display.
Are friendship pages an invasion of privacy? Or have Facebook users just become too careless with their communication?