On the heels of its announcement about Smart Lists, Facebook is giving users more options for sharing and managing their content, including letting individuals share public content with people who “subscribe” to their feeds rather than “friend” them.
The most important change is probably the introduction of a “Subscribe” button to each user’s profile. (This affects only real people, not Pages, and brands and companies should continue to use Pages, Facebook says.) If a user chooses to “Subscribe,” they will begin to see all of that person’s public updates in their news feed, without that person having to confirm the friendship — though people can block subscribers and control who comments on their updates. There’s no limit to how many subscribers a person can have, meaning the change helps overcome the criticism that Facebook has gotten for having a 5000 friend maximum. To take advantage of this, users need to change their settings to allow subscribers at facebook.com/about/subscriptions. It’s not clear whether the “Subscribe” option, like the “Like” option, will be distributed to web pages outside of Facebook.