Facebook moves in on Twitter's turf with new follow feature

Facebook confirmed yesterday that it has begun testing a new “subscribe” feature for users and pages. The feature lets users follow a user or page and receive notifications when a new update or piece of content, such as a picture or video, occurs.

The new feature may be a move to make someone’s news feed more specific and relevant to users. With the average user having 130 friends, it can make it difficult to stay up-to-date on what everyone’s doing. With the “subscribe” feature, a user could choose the top friends they want to follow and see their updates in the notification stream, similar to what happens when someone comments on one of your updates. It also sounds much easier than managing your news feed settings for multiple groups of Facebook friends.

As pointed out by All Facebook, it isn’t known what will happen if someone “Likes” a page or checks in to a location through Facebook’s new Places feature. The following Facebook statement was provided to All Facebook:

“This feature is being tested with a small percent of users. It lets people subscribe to friends and pages to receive notifications whenever the person they’ve subscribed to updates their status or posts new content (photos, videos, links, or notes).”

The new Facebook feature may remind you of the main feature of popular social network Twitter, which has built its entire 145 million member network on following other users and seeing only their updates. One can’t help but wonder if Facebook is making a move to be a more complete social network, offering Twitter users the same features. And here comes more speculation about whether Facebook will kill Twitter.


VentureBeat is studying mobile marketing automation. Chime in, and we’ll share the data.