Circa 2004, Facebook Starts Testing of .edu-Exclusive Groups | Tutorial Freak – Online Tutorials

Circa 2004, Facebook Starts Testing of .edu-Exclusive Groups

Long ago (read 2006 – when FB opened up to anyone with an email address), signing up for Facebook required a university (.edu) email address and many users shared openly with everyone in their school’s network. In an effort to revive the feeling of safe sharing within an exclusive community (privacy issues have haunted FB in the past), Facebook has begun testing of a new “Groups At [University]” feature. It allows users to create Groups that are only visible to those with an authenticated .edu email address for their school/college/university. Users are encouraged to create Groups for their dorms, classes, clubs, parties and more.

facebook-tests-university-groups-again

facebook-tests-university-groups-again

Groups at Universities and its restricted visibility is likely designed to get students sharing and discussing a wider range of content — things they might be using private email for. Currently, there are only Groups at Brown and Groups at Vanderbilt, but if successful, Facebook might roll out the feature to more schools in future.

As Facebook opened its service to the public and adults (in 2006), students would have begun sharing lesser content related to their academic lives. A status update about a group-study session or a party may have reached a more relevant audience in 2006. By 2011 though, too many family members or employers might have seen it without careful privacy control usage, leading students to self-censor or discuss these topics via email. Facebook wants people sharing everything on its site, and Groups at University could help it reclaim a core use case.

Students that have registered on Facebook with their .edu email address of a school, will be alerted about the feature. Once they’ve authenticated their email address, they’ll be able to create Groups with the same open, closed, or secret settings as the standard Groups feature Facebook launched last year, but no one outside their school will be able to see them. Within their Groups at [University] home page they can invite schoolmates to the feature, and view suggestions of Groups to join and a feed of recent open Group activity.

Brown and Vanderbilt were chosen because they use different email addresses for students vs alumni. Only those with current student addresses can gain access, which keeps sketchy recent grads from crashing the party.

Facebook is grappling with the impact of its own ubiquity. Its enormous 800 million user count might make each user more reluctant to share niche content. Features like Groups at Universities could help Facebook fend off student-only social networks and micronetworks like Path vying to own targeted sharing.

facebook-exclusive-edu-group-preview

This feature is similar to what Google Plus offers – namely “Circles”

Feel free to post your thoughts.

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Sagar – who has written posts on Tutorial Freak – Online Tutorials.


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