In a move that has divided opinion, Facebook has ‘liked’ couples – by launching special pages on the social networking site purely for those in a relationship.
The new pages at Facebook.com/us automatically sort photos and posts of lovestruck couples, and stick them all into one sickly-sweet timeline.
The move’s already created a huge amount of reaction: with sentimental romantics praising the ‘cute’ move, and bitter singles sticking two fingers down their throats.
For Facebook, the benefits are obvious: with paid ads on the site driving its profit, the move will enhance opportunities for wedding specialists, jewellery stores, travel agents, relationship counsellors and divorce lawyers to carry out social media marketing strategies.
The backlash has begun: former Telegraph tech editor, and now women’s editor, Emma Barnett, wrote a stinging piece calling the couples pages “cringeworthy” – and even threatened to stage a Facebook ‘break-up’ with her husband just to avoid having to look at the “creepy” new feature.
Facebook Friendship Pages, which act in a similar way to the couples page, by showing posts of a common interest to cyber chums, has already been in existence for over two years.
In essence, a ‘friendship page’ between many soppy couples who are now ‘in a relationship’ with each other already existed, with the only real difference being that there is now an Internet address that emphasises this.
Unfortunately, for anyone not impressed with having their relationship broadcast to the world on the Facebook.com/us pages there is further bad news – you’re stuck with them.
Thankfully, users are allowed a certain degree of say in what content does appear on them.
Of course, there’s always the modest alternative: don’t tell the world you’re in a relationship.
If you’re happy for Facebook to know you’re loved-up with a clear indication in your profile, why resist the urge to really rub it in everyone’s faces?
Facebook’s thought it through, mind, with privacy setting options available to limit over-exposure. In an e-mail to CNN, Facebook’s technology communications expert Jessie Baker, said: “You cannot deactivate the pages, but you can control what you share on Facebook using the privacy settings for each post.
“The friendship page respects the privacy setting of each post. This means the person viewing the friendship page may see each post elsewhere on Facebook, like on either friend’s timeline or in news feed. You can curate your friendship page by hiding stories you do not want to appear.”
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