Facebook's 'News Feed'

Facebook, the social-networking Web site, launched a "News Feed" feature in early September, but it quickly backfired. Designed as Google News for your circle of friends, the service automatically generates bulletins whenever a Facebook buddy updates his or her personal profile, registering each tiny tweak--Deona added "doughy breadd" [sic] to her interests (12:40 p.m.); Jeremy removed "muttering" from his favorite activities (11:41 a.m.)--on a list that scrolls down your home page. But many Facebookers didn't appreciate the innovation. Benjamin Parr, a Northwestern University junior, immediately formed a group called Students Against Facebook News Feed (Official Petition to Facebook), which asked members to boycott by refusing to update their profiles. More than 700,000 soon signed on. "News Feed is just too creepy, too stalkeresque, and a feature that has to go," he wrote. A few days later Facebook caved, modifying the service to allow members to limit what gets posted in the bulletins. Score one for privacy.