Facebook’s New Feature: Groups

Facebook Inc., on Wednesday, launched a new way for its 500 million members to organize friends on the social network. The goal is to inspire more interaction while addressing privacy concerns.

Before the launch, Facebook members could separate people into lists like: family/friends, but only 5 percent do. Most of the information people share is open to their network.

This is “the biggest problem in social networking,” Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg explained. The new Groups feature will solve this by providing users an easier way to organize friends, so they can communicate about topics that pertain just to that group and, possibly, making them comfortable with sharing even more online.

“We really think this is going to fundamentally change how you use Facebook today,” Justin Shaffer, product manager for the Groups feature.

All members have access to groups. A member can start a group, for example, that includes fans of writers or tennis. The original member becomes an administrator for the group and can invite other friends to join. The invited friend can accept or decline and other friends can request an invitation.

By default, a Group starts out as closed, meaning non-members can see the topic but can’t see people who are in it or the posts, documents/group chats. A Group can be made open to the entire public or completely secret.

Advertisers won’t have access to any personal information within the groups per company officials.