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Facebook launches 'Subscribe' feature to let non-friends connect

September 14, 2011 | 11:07 am

You no longer have to be friends with someone on Facebook to connect.

Fadebooksubscribe Facebook is rolling out a new feature Wednesday that gives users the ability to "subscribe" to the public updates of anyone on Facebook even if they are not friends.

It's the first time that Facebook users can connect with each other without becoming friends. The subscription feature is similar to following someone on Twitter or on Google+. It's designed for people who want to reach a broader audience such as celebrities or politicians.

The move is the latest in a series of moves Facebook is making in response to competition from Google+ and other social networking sites.

Starting Wednesday, Facebook users will see a button (labeled "subscribe") next to the "message" and "poke" buttons on Facebook profiles.

If you click on the button you'll start seeing that user's status updates in your News Feed just as if you were Facebook friends. If you want to share your own status updates publicly, you can click a tab beneath your profile photo that says "Subscriptions" to find the option to broadcast to those who subscribe to you. Even if you broadcast your public updates you can still share more private updates with just your friends.

Facebooksubscribe2 The new subscription feature is also handy for people who want greater control over what appears in their News Feed. Facebook says the feature will help users decide what they want to see and what they don't.

Now when you view a friend's profile you'll have the option of seeing either everything that friend posts, most of the updates from that friend or just highlights from that friend. You can also weed out updates you don't want to see (such as game updates).

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-- Jessica Guynn

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