Following a 2 month lock-down in Facebook-land, Facebook's Chief Exec and founder Mark Zuckerberg has announced a whole series of new features. Many of these features appear to move away from Facebook’s original concept of a purely social media, and point the company towards providing an open and transparent business tool.
Mindful of the past criticisms over security, Facebook have announced a number of measures to prevent fraud and protect user’s information. Facebook apps have traditionally been a source of angst with users as once they signed up to an app they had no real way of knowing what information was being used by the app. A new facility has been added to allow users to easily review applications and security settings and give them control over which app has access permission to their information.

Users can now download a summary of everything that they have ever posted to Facebook. This will be downloaded as a zip file and as an added security measure users will be required to authenticate before downloading.

But one of the most interesting new features is the introduction of Groups. Users can create groups for work, friends, family etc and manage these groups independently. Features like news feed and chat and the sharing of photos will be available within the group to enable users to interact with smaller and more tightly defined members. Members of the group will have the option to leave the group and to invite new members into it. Again with security in mind, these groups will be closed. With the addition of this feature Facebook would appear to be chasing the corner of the market currently held by apps such as LinkedIn which is a professional networking application. As many users find themselves having to separately manage their LinkedIn and Facebook accounts it will be interesting to see whether LinkedIn is replaced by a professional Facebook Group.