Facebook today announced a new product called Friendship Pages which show users all the content and connections shared by two people who are friends, including photos they’re both tagged in, wall posts and comments between them, Events they both RSVP’d to, and their mutual friends and Likes. While not fully rolled out yet, users will be able to visit Friendship Pages by clicking links on wall posts, and possible relationship feed stories and beneath profile pictures, as long as they are friends with one of the people and have permission to view the other’s profile. By aggregating mutual content, Friendship Pages give users a in-depth look at relationships.
Developed during a recent Facebook Hackathon, Friendship Pages make it easy to see how two people have interacted on Facebook. Use cases include viewing the mutual content of you and your best friend, two siblings, or your ex-girlfriend and their new significant other. Other ways Facebook has recently developed to illustrate the connections between friends include showing the Likes you have in common with a friend on their profile, a ranking of the friends you have the most similar interests to on the Page Browser discovery tool, and aggregated link and Places check-in stories.
Upon visiting a Friendship Page, users will see the two people’s names, and their networks, such as employer or college. The left sidebar includes a photo both people are tagged in as a profile picture, navigation links to different content categories including mutual likes, and a list of all of their mutual friends. The center of the Friendship Page contains the wall posts between the people, the Events they both attended, and posts in which both users commented. Above the ads and modules in the right sidebar is a new “Browse Friendships” module which prompts users to enter their name or a friends name in one input field, another friend’s name in the second input field, and click a button to “See Friendship”. It’s currently unclear where mutual photos will be shown.
Friendship Pages will take a lot of the work out of Facebook browsing. Currently, if you wanted to determine the connection between two other people, you would have to sift through all their tagged photos looking for ones with both people, view their wall-to-wall page, and manually compare their friends and Likes. There was no feasible way to see their shared Event RSVPs or comments.
The friends of friends privacy setting now has greater significance, as a user only needs to be friends with one person and have access to the profile of the other to see their Friendship Page. While fun and useful for learning about how you and a friend or two of your friends are connected, the product could also be used to investigate the connection between one of your friends and someone you don’t know. It could become a powerful tool for jealous users to monitor their significant others, or a masochistic way to watch how a former significant other is interacting with their new partner. Similar relationship issues led Facebook to change how the Photo Memories module chose who to display.
Facebook’s high engagement and user retention statistics are tied to the human desire to forge and maintain connections with others. To date, though, Facebook has been better at showing users snippets of their connections with many different people. By allowing users to focus on a single connection, Facebook will help many realize just how integral the service has been to the formation of deep and long-lasting friendships.
[Update: Friendship Pages are now live for some users. Links to Friendship Pages are appearing on wall posts to or from a user on their profile and on the profiles of friends. Friendship Page links don’t appear on posts that are displayed on walls because they’re tagged with a user. The Facebook Blog post explained there would also be links below the profile pictures on a the profiles of friends, but these are not present yet. Once on a Friendship Page, users can navigate to any other Friendship Page they have access to through the Browse Friendships module.]