Last month, a popular social networking site reached an important milestone. On 2014, Facebook announced 500 million people now actively use the service. The site has grown by leaps-and-bounds in just a few short years since its launching in 2004. In fact, Facebook is touted as the world’s largest social networking site with a population larger than the United States, Mexico and France combined.
Social networking websites allow users to connect with friends, family and loved ones all over the world. The social networking giant recently announced the launching of two brand new tools – Facebook Places and Facebook Stories.
In July, the social networking site launched its new Facebook Stories feature. Whether inspirational, political, humorous or heartfelt, users can now share personal stories or read the stories of other users.
The stories are categorized by a variety of themes including love, politics, military, pets, health, sports, college, religion, family and reunions. Users can also select stories by geographical location by clicking on the integrated Bing map available in 2D, 3D, aerial, bird’s eye and road views.
Sharing a story is simple – just write the story and select the appropriate theme. The story will be shared with friends via the News Feed. The most popular stories will be featured in the “Most Popular” section of the site.
If you have a special location you’d like to share with friends and family, Facebook Places may be just the ticket. The new location-based service allows users to share their favorite restaurant, beach, camping spot or show with others in real time from a mobile device.
Whether you are enjoying an action-packed flick or eating a great meal, Facebook’s new geolocation features allow your friends to know exactly where you are. The check in option allows users to share exact whereabouts with other users. Once checked in, your information will appear on the Facebook Place page, News Feed and your Wall.
The application is simple to use. Just click the “check in” button and select your location. If the location is not listed, add it to the list. The “Here Now” section of the application allows users to see who else is in the area. And if you “tag” any friends you are with, they too will be part of the update. Depending on customized settings, users select who can and cannot see the information.
In order to use Places, the newest Facebook iPhone application must first be installed on your device. Users with other web-enabled mobile devices will be able to use the feature in the future. Places is currently being rolled out and is only available in the U.S.
Facebook Places Privacy Concerns
While various organizations and users have criticized Facebook’s lack of privacy controls and security features, the social networking site is pushing back against the criticism regarding Places. Users control aspects of the Places feature by accessing individual account settings located on the top-right hand of the Facebook page. Users can select one of the four privacy options under the “Privacy Settings” area. By clicking the “Customize Settings” link, users can fine-tune personal settings as well. Visit Facebook for more specific information on privacy issues.
Facebook Places and Stories are just two more reasons to connect with friends and loved ones on Facebook.