Facebook in Twitter-style revamp

The hugely popular site has unveiled a new look which it says offers better filtering of incoming information and a platform for reaching mass audiences.


Facebook will begin shifting users to a new home page design on March 11, but posted a preview of the new design for its famously change-wary users to check out in advance.

“Our intuition is this is the right direction,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said.

“This isn\’t the last time we are going to change this. As long as the amount of people sharing information is going up, we know we are going in the right direction.”

Facebook boasts more than 175 million members and Zuckerberg believes that number will hit 200 million by the end of the year.

5,000-friend limit lifted

On Wednesday, the site lifted its 5,000-friend cap, allowing people with large audiences to have their virtual voices heard instantly by unlimited numbers of fans.

Those signed up for the new Facebook profile pages at its launch include US President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and rock band U2.

The change positions Facebook to try to make money with a feature that provides an online platform for people with brands to promote or messages to spread.

“There is a philosophical change; we want to converge all these different kinds of people on the website,” Zuckerberg said.

“Bono, the New York Times, public figures and more have messages and want their voices heard by their audiences.”

Zuckerberg said he “admires” the work done of micro-blogging service Twitter and social-networking rival MySpace and that a clear trend is that people want to stream information quickly.

\’Faster, more customised\’

“Over the past five years, Facebook has evolved to make sharing information more efficient and to give people more control,” Zuckerberg said of the website he started in 2004.

“This year, we are going to continue making the flow of information even faster and more customised.

“Now, if you want, you can read what President Obama is saying on the same page as your best friend,” Zuckerberg said.

New profile pages rolled out on Wednesday for public figures and organisations are interactive, allowing Facebook users to post responses on the “walls” of the likes of Obama, Bono, and talk-show celebrity Oprah Winfrey.

The list of high-profile people who launched profile pages on Wednesday also includes US governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sarah Palin, and actor couple Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.