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Why Facebook Won't Lose Its Core Power Users

Why Facebook Won't Lose Its Core Power Users

By | Posted - Oct. 20, 2011 at 10:10 a.m.

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At the last day of the Web 2.0 Summit 2011, Facebook CTO Bret Taylor took the stage for a brief 15 minute interview and talked about the social network's underlying principles, how it compares to Google Plus and whether users really know how much they're sharing.

"I think the people who use Facebook a lot are very, very aware of privacy settings. They know exactly what their current boyfriend or ex can see," he said. "As our service has grown, there's a lot of increasing scrutiny on how we provide our service. If we can make your privacy controls so transparent that you are comfortable with sharing data on Facebook, that's good."

In his on-stage interview with John Batelle, Taylor was asked about Facebook's power users and whether they will leave the service for platforms like Twitter or Google+ because of the limited ability to control their content. Taylor said that power users were the "people who were in college when Facebook was only available to students" and said the company is "very concerned about addressing their needs for nuanced controls and features." But he also said that Facebook has often times gone too far toward complexity. He also used the used the word "complex" when describing data portability. It's easy to transfer your own data from a single-user service, he said. "It gets complex with the intersection of several features. And an example of that is the address book on Facebook. If I put my contacts there and put privacy settings on, what are my rights? Should you have the ability to take that data to another site with different privacy?" When asked about the forthcoming launch of Facebook Timeline, more specifically the activity log, Taylor explained that every piece of content or activity that you've shared on Facebook for all time will be available. "It's a single place on Facebook where you can see all your information," he said, and you can "modify the privacy and the level of control over that experience as much as possible." And what about Google Plus? Taylor said it's validation of the idea that Facebook was built on, namely that social isn't a destination, but something you integrate into everything. "Now most of the applications I use on a daily basis, from the news services to music to games are all integrated with Facebook. My television is integrated with Facebook. My xBox, I can post the image of my car crashing to Facebook. Facebook is not just a destination: It's personalization, a way to discover apps. Facebook is a large ecosystem that drives discovery." Taylor Says Smart Friend Lists and the News Feed Will Keep Power Users Engaged "Our friend list feature has been really well regarded," Taylor said. Not only friend lists where you can list your friends, but also smart lists that will make lists from people you go to school with, work with - we are trying to reach a broad audience." Taylor also pointed to the news feed as a point of simplicity, stating that "the news feed is quite good at finding you the most engaging content. We spend a lot of time fine-tuning that."

Do you think the smart friend list and news feed features will keep Facebook's power users on the network? Tell us what you think in the comments.

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