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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Mr. Facebook, tear down that wall

Published: September 15, 2006
Section: News

Once upon a time, before February 2004, there was no such thing as Facebook. (Gasp!)

The horror ended in late 2004, when the Facebook (it was still The Facebook at that time) accepted Brandeis University onto its network. The expansion continued. In 2004 and 2005, thousands of colleges from across the United States joined. In September 2005, Facebook decided to allow High School students to join Facebook.
Now, in 2006, here come the Grandmothers, Elementary School students, pedophiles, Government officials, and everyone else, as Facebook will remove its exclusiveness on October 1. The website will still be based around networks, so that the new users will sign up per a geographic location (instead of a school).

Of course, the decision is a no-brainer for the website when considering advertisement revenue and the power of owning an even larger networking site. Facebook now holds nine-million registered users, making it the seventh most trafficked site on the web (not to mention the top photo sharing site). And, with no more boundaries other than an e-mail address to sign up, Facebook could challenge MySpace and its over 100 million members as the top social networking site on the Internet. But the fear from resident users is that Facebook could be as unsafe and as sketchy, as MySpace.

Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has assuaged fears with a homepage message, stating [Facebook] shouldnt change much for you [returning users]. College networks will remain exclusive to people from those colleges Only your friends and other people in your networks can see your profile.

Zuckerberg believes that Facebook is about increasing information flow and connecting people. With its recent changes, including the infamous News-Feed, the My Notes section, and the addition of more members, it is certainly marching toward those goals.

But many college students were happier the way it used to be, as an exclusive site just for them. Just as students were not thrilled when their little siblings were able to see their profiles, they probably will not be jumping up and down at the thought of their parents seeing their photos, interests, and the Looking for section. Groups have once again sprung up, from the exclamation-point happy Dont let Facebook open up to the public!!!! to the repetitive Facebook users against Facebook becoming non-exclusive.

Zuckerbergs statement insists that Facebook is looking into more protective measures. Do you want to be completely invisible to people who arent in college or high school Please send us your thoughts on how we can make this work for you, the statement requests.