Facebook is building a ‘Close Friends’ feature similar to Instagram that lets users share content with an exclusive group of people via Messenger
- A feature called ‘Favorites’ will let users send content to close contacts
- ‘Favorites’ will mimic a feature in Instagram called ‘Close Friends’
- Unlike ‘Close Friends,’ Favorites won’t limit public posts, however
- Facebook has recently worked to foster a more intimate atmosphere
Instagram’s exclusive ‘close friends’ feature may be coming to Facebook.
Reverse-engineer expert Jane Manchun Wong spotted a nascent test, which is currently under development, that allows users to post content to only a select group of closer friends.
‘Favorites’ as the feature is reportedly being called lets users designate a group of people as a type of ‘inner circle’ and then send content to them on-demand via Messenger.
The limit for friends designated in the favorite list is 10 and differs slightly from Instagram’s ‘Close Friends’ which lets users limit the size of their public story posts.
As noted by TechCrunch, the feature is likely being included as an effort to get users to post more on Facebook by offering them a middle ground between entirely public or entirely private posts.
It’s not clear if Favorites will actually be rolled out by the platform en masse, but as noted by The Verge, the feature jives with CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for the platform’s future.
Specifically, Zuckerberg has been vocal about pivoting Facebook away from the ‘town square’ approach into a more intimate environment to connect with loved ones and friends.
Facebook has struggled to change its public image amid myriad privacy scandals and pressure from regulators and lawmakers (Stock photo)
Privacy has also been more of a focus for the platform after Facebook became the center of several concerning scandals surrounding user privacy.
Giving users greater control over their content may also help mend distrust from those who are skeptical of the platform’s reputation.
According to The Verge, Facebook is still testing the feature and hasn’t yet confirmed whether it will even roll Favorites out publicly.
As such, a lot could change if and when Favorites is actually tested on the public or if it’s eventually rolled out everywhere.
HOW DOES FACEBOOK PLAN TO IMPROVE PRIVACY?
In a March 6 blog post, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised to rebuild based on six ‘privacy-focused’ principles:
- Private interactions
- Reducing permanence
- Secure data storage
Zuckerberg promised end-to-end encryption for all of its messaging services, which will be combined in a way that allows users to communicate across WhatsApp, Instagram Direct, and Facebook Messenger.
This he refers to as ‘interoperability.’
He also said moving forward, the firm won’t hold onto messages or stories for ‘longer than necessary’ or ‘longer than people want them.’
This could mean, for example, that users set messages to auto-delete after a month or even a few minutes.
‘Interoperability’ will ensure messages remain encrypted even when jumping from one messaging service, such as WhatsApp, to another, like Instagram, Zuckerberg says.
Facebook also hopes to improve users’ trust in how it stores their data.
Zuckerberg promised the site ‘won’t store sensitive data in countries with weak records on human rights like privacy and freedom of expression in order to protect data from being improperly accessed.’