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12/22/2010
12:20 PM
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Facebook Testing Newsfeed Filter Options

Social media site testing an enhancement to allow users to customize the information they see.

Flock Browses All Your Social Connections
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Slideshow: Flock Browses All Your Social Connections
Facebook continues to fine-tune its site, most recently testing an enhancement to its news feed filter that lets users see the content they want, beyond the current "top news" and "most recent."

The social media site currently uses various algorithms to generate a list of users' top news status reports. But the newly developed "most recent" link includes a drop-down menu that gives users several user-created options, including status updates, games, photos, pages, links, and lists. Facebook users can opt to see only status updates or all the links people have shared, for example, according to InsideFacebook.

This feature is not yet available to all users, so it appears Facebook still is testing the capability.

The games filter is similar to one available in the site's Games dashboard, but is more accessible and convenient for everyday users, said InsideFacebook. The photos filter captures pictures, while the links filter includes snippets of stories they can read off-site, plus videos they can see in-line. Users can separate personal friends' posts from official entities via the pages filter, InsideFacebook said. In fact, the pages filter becomes akin to an RSS read feeder, the site said.

"These new options are a form of allowing the all-important Newsfeed to be filtered by context, lending it a greater feeling of control and cohesiveness. The current design prompts users to view updates in time-based order only, but sometimes you want to view a certain type of update or updates from certain groups of your social contacts," said Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb.

Facebook often experiments with its page, with some designs never evolving beyond the experimental stage. Yet other capabilities -- such as the Friendship Page that debuted in November and the facial-recognition feature unveiled for its photo-tagging capability earlier this month -- become entrenched in the site.

"A recent Sophos poll showed that 90% of Facebook users think that all Facebook features should become totally opt-in," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, of Facebook's use of facial-recognition software in its photo-tagging feature.

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The cybersecurity profession struggles to retain women (figures range from 10 to 20 percent). It's particularly worrisome for an industry with a rapidly growing number of vacant positions.

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