Facebook Launches New Twitter-esque “Subscribe” Button.

  • September 14, 2011 1:42 pm

Twitter’s more public following abilities have left Facebook’s more personal approach to social networking almost playing catch up at times with both companies beginning to compete in each others’ markets. While Twitter still has a long way to go — and amidttingly probably won’t ever fully get to — in copying certain aspects of Facebook, Facebook just released a new feature that is a direct nod towards Twitter.

Over the next few days, Facebook users will begin to notice a “Subscribe” button on the top right of their feed (see above). The real beauty of the Facebook Subscribe button, however, is how customizable it is. For individual users there is the ability to turn off Subscribe features so no one can follow you or your content without your approval — just like it’s always been. But the real magic happens if you leave subscription services on…

Facebook’s subscribe button will allow users to customize how many updates (all/most/important) as well as what kinds of updates are seen in your stream. (Read: You can turn off the over9000 game-based updates that pollute your Facebook wall each and every day.) Essentially this makes Facebook a much more potent Twitter competitor as you can follow a popular journalist, blogger, or other interesting person’s public updates without having to actually have access to their full profile, images, etc. — again, very Twitter-like. The new subscribe button and varying sharing levels build off of Facebook’s already present user groups that allow users to control how many people and what groups can see particular updates (think: Google Circles).

Twitter is still a very different entity from Facebook despite the new changes. But we can’t help but notice how more robust Facebook has now become, and it is this robustness that many people — tech junkies in particular — have been loving over Google+ for. Actually when we think about it, Facebook’s new subscribe button is a much more direct attack against Google+ than Twitter.

If you recall, Facebook originally directed people looking for easy public sharing to Facebook Pages, which up until now has kept personal profiles largely limited to people you approve.



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