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Dublin: 20 °C Thursday 18 July, 2019
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Is Facebook going to help you stalk your friends?

No – we mean, even more than it already does. They’re testing a somewhat creepy new ‘Subscribe’ button.

Activating the Subcribe option will notify a user whenever their friend changes their status or uploads photos.
Activating the Subcribe option will notify a user whenever their friend changes their status or uploads photos.
Image: Mashable

FACEBOOK IS TESTING a new option that will essentially allow any user to follow a friend’s activities in a very literal sense.

Mashable is reporting that the world’s biggest social network is trialling a new ‘Subscribe’ option which, when activated for any individual friend, will notify a user every time their friend does anything on the site – such as posting a new status update or uploading new photos.

While technically the site already does this, the function will now mean that a user will be actively notified – by means of a new entry appearing in the ‘Notifications’ box, complete with red illumination, as soon as the friend changes anything about their profile.

While the service is likely intended to help offer more real-time notifications, à la Twitter, the tool could potentially also be abused by people with only a distant connection to someone marked as a friend on the site to pay an alarming amount of attention to their contacts’ online doings.

Mashable is unsure as of yet whether users will be allowed to ‘subscribe’ to the updates of people not marked as friends, which as it says would be “much more stalker-like”.

Either way, the tool will be seen as another way for the network, which has faced its fair share of privacy headaches in recent months, to allow people spy on the actions of their ‘frenemies’ or casual acquaintances.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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