Facebook has announced a series of updates designed to change the way users interact with their social networking connections and applications.
The company unveiled a trio of services and interfaces that it hopes will give users greater control over their profiles and insight into where and when they interact with others.
Included in the updates will be an overhaul of the 'groups' function. Facebook will now allow users to create and manage their own groupings of friends based on common characteristics such as family members or business associates.
Users can create and then add friends into a group. Those within the group will then be able to access features such as chat and news feeds. Users who are added to a group will have the option to immediately leave.
The aim of the new system, said Facebook, was to allow users a greater level of control over how information is organised and how they can interact with friends.
Also aimed at giving users more control will the be addition of an application dashboard page. The control panel will allow users to see and manage what information is available to installed applications and third-party sites.
Users will also be able to keep track of what they are sharing on Facebook by way of a new download service. The feature will allow users to request a download of a complete archive of their Facebook activity and information.
To prevent fraud, the system will not only require users to submit a request and re-enter account credentials, but also ask users to provide information about their accounts as a type of 'social captcha' before access to the archive is given.
The releases come following days of speculation over what announcements Facebook was preparing to make.
Founder and chief executive Marc Zuckerberg confirmed that the company had been on a two-month 'lockdown' period as the new features were being finalised.
"We basically had a lot of product teams that were coming for a landing all at the same time," Zuckerberg told reporters.
"We had a really productive summer."
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