Students who logged on to Facebook today were greeted by a message—presumably written by Mark Zuckerberg, the site’s creator—intended to assuage their concerns about the social network’s planned expansion.
Thousands of students have protested Facebook’s newly announced plan to open its membership to all computer users, on campuses and off (The Chronicle, September 14). But the message argues that Facebook’s new members—who will join regional networks instead of campus-specific ones—will be all but invisible to the social network’s devoted college clientele: “I know a lot of you are worried about this and how it changes the site. Honestly, it shouldn’t change much for you. College networks will remain exclusive to people from those colleges. High-school and work networks will remain exclusive as well. Only your friends and other people in your networks can see your profile. This is what makes Facebook different, and we’re not changing it.”
The company appears intent on nipping the controversy in the bud, but public sentiment—already hardened by the site’s “News Feed” fiasco (The Chronicle, September 11)—hasn’t been entirely positive. “I don’t [care] if I am ‘invisible’ or not to those who are public Facebookers,” wrote a student on “Don’t Let Facebook Go Public,” one of several protest groups that have formed on the social network. “I do not want them on here AT ALL.” —Brock Read