Is Facebook turning into Twitter?

Facebook has launched a new beta feature that drags the social-networking site another step closer to Twitter.

Is Facebook turning into Twitter?

The “improved” Publisher feature allows users to share selected status updates, photos and videos with everyone on the internet, while allowing them to keep certain messages confined to their circle of friends.

“You may have some posts you want to share with a wide audience, such as whom you voted for or how great the weather is today,” site engineer Olaoluwa Okelola claims in a Facebook blog post. “Other times you may have more personal updates like your new phone number or an invitation to join you at your favourite restaurant for dinner that are meant for only close or nearby friends.”

Previously, users have only been able to make their entire profile public. The new feature will let Facebook members choose whether they want individual posts sent to everyone or only subsets of their friends and networks. The new feature is, however, only open to members who choose to make their profile page public.

Encouraging Facebook members to send messages to the internet at large will inevitably draw comparisons with Twitter, which has toppled Facebook as the social-networking site of the moment.

The two sites have grown closer and closer in functionality over the past year, with many users choosing to synchronise their tweets and their Facebook status updates, and vice versa.

Third-party applications such as TweetDeck also allow users of both sites to post updates simultaneously.

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