Facebook launches 'couples pages'
Tuesday 13 Nov 2012 1:27 p.m.
The couples pages bear similarities to Facebook's Timeline feature
By Dan Satherley
If you're on Facebook, and in a relationship with someone who is also on Facebook, open a new tab on your browser and type in www.facebook.com/us. Surprised? Welcome to Facebook's newest feature – couples pages.
Everything you and your significant other have ever done together on Facebook is there for all to see – photos, events, likes, wall posts, everything.
The 'us' link is a part of Facebook's new friendship pages, which have been revamped to look more like the much-maligned Timeline feature, which launched last year.
Users can see the history of any relationship – platonic or otherwise – they've had with anyone else on Facebook by navigating to their profile, clicking on the gear icon at the top right, and selecting 'see friendship'.
If you're a little weirded out, rest assured you're not the only one. In an article widely shared on Facebook itself, Telegraph columnist Emma Barnett said the idea of couple's pages makes her "want to retch".
"I enjoy being able to share the information I wish and curate in the way I want," she writes. "I have no desire for your technology teams to help me organise my photos – nor do I wish to have a shared 'couples' Facebook profile with my other half on which you automatically curate our relationship."
Ms Barnett says although Facebook inventor Mark Zuckerberg usually knows what users want before they realise it themselves, he is "way off the mark with proactively creating couples pages which automatically curate people’s relationships".
"You may have just forced me, a newlywed, to take finally take the plunge and break up with my husband on Facebook."
Another blogger said the pages make her "want to vomit".
"You’re perfectly capable of sharing pictures of yourself and your partner without needing to combine your entire identities onto one page," writes Jennifer Wright at thegloss.com.
"I also don’t want a record of my relationship compiled and recorded by Facebook executives. Really. That seems like a terrible idea."
Tech website slashgear.com said the pages could be problematic for couples going through a rough patch.
"I can see this being an issue for some people considering a page can be made that could lead people to believe you were at an event with someone else even if it was a large group of people, and you never interacted," writes Shane McGlaun.
"In other words, if a jealous girlfriend sees that a page has been created with your name and an ex-girlfriend’s name at the same event, your life is likely to get difficult. "
Unfortunately for Barnett, Wright and McGlaun, and likely millions of others, the pages are here to stay.
"You cannot deactivate the pages, but you can control what you share on Facebook using the privacy settings for each post," Facebook's Jessie Baker told CNN.
"The friendship page respects the privacy setting of each post. This means the person viewing the friendship page may see each post elsewhere on Facebook, like on either friend's timeline or in news feed. You can curate your friendship page by hiding stories you do not want to appear."
You can also look at any of your friends' relationships with each other by entering their names in the boxes at the top right-hand corner of each friendship page.
"If you randomly generate one of these pages you may creep some people out," writes McGlaun. "I’d wager a bunch of people didn’t even know friendship pages existed.
For those who think couples pages are a great idea however, a 'share friendship' button will allow them to spread the love with their friends.