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Facebook's 'Subscribe' Button: 5 Things You Need To Know

The Huffington Post     First Posted: 09/14/11 05:27 PM ET   Updated: 11/14/11 05:12 AM ET

Forget "friending": a new feature from Facebook now lets users "subscribe" to one another's updates.

In a blog post published Wednesday, Facebook announced that it would begin rolling out the "subscribe button," a tool that offers users a new way to interact with one another, as well as more of a say over the information that appears in their News Feeds.

"Our mission is to connect people and help them share. The goal of this new feature really is to give people more control over how they do that," Naomi Gleit, Facebook's director of product, told the Huffington Post.

As we wrote here, the just-announced setting, which lets Facebook operate more like Twitter by enabling people to "follow" public figures, could have important effects on etiquette, sharing, and the way people connect on Facebook.

Facebook will begin rolling out the "subscribe" button to all users starting September 14.

We've put together a guide to five key things you need to know about the "subscribe" button. Check them out, then tell us what you think of the new feature in the comments below.

'Friending' vs. 'Subscribing'
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Facebook's latest feature has introduced an important new term, "subscribing," that describes a novel way to connect on the social networking site. Now, you must choose between "friending" someone and "subscribing" to them.

So what's the difference? Here's how Facebook explains it:

You should only add someone as a friend when you know them personally. If you don't know someone personally but want to hear what they have to say, subscribing is a good option. When you subscribe to someone, you'll only be able to see their public updates.


When you request to add a person as your "friend," she must review and approve the request. On the other hand, if someone has opted to include the "subscribe" button on her profile, you can subscribe to see her public updates without her having to review the request, or without being friends with her (Note that she'll be able to see that you subscribed to her). Facebook "friends" can see any profile information a user has made available to that particular group--it might include tagged photos and videos, comments, status updates, wall posts, and contact information, among other details--whereas subscribers can only view public updates.
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