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Facebook users can now make a wide variety of information on their profiles completely open to the public. This may not be what all users want, but some do. And until now being completely open with your life on Facebook hasn’t been an option.

It’s another way Facebook is trying to compete against other social networks like MySpace and micro-blogging service Twitter, both of which share information openly.

From Facebook:

Just go to your privacy page and change the settings you want to the new “Everyone” option. You can opt to make one or all of the following profile elements more open: Profile, Status Updates, Links, Wall Posts, Basic Info, Personal Info, Education Info, Work Info, Photos of You and Videos of You.

By being private, Facebook has in effect limited the value of its own service. Which reminds me of a recent comment from Twitter chief executive Evan Williams, about the value of openness.

People are learning that living a bit more publicly, a bit more transparently can have really powerful positive effects. You meet people, you are provided with new opportunities. You have the ability to express yourself. It can be narcissistic. It can be completely ego-driven. It can also be an authentic, open way to live your life that people enjoy and makes your life richer.

This move could make Facebook’s in-house search information much more valuable. Right now, searches on Facebook are limited by the lack of publicly searchable information. For people looking to find new people interested in the same things, this is a new opportunity.


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