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Facebook privacy settings are shown in San Francisco, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009. (Russel A. Daniels/AP)
Facebook privacy settings are shown in San Francisco, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009. (Russel A. Daniels/AP)

Facebook profiles to play up brand, band pages Add to ...

Facebook is revamping users' profiles to emphasize the pages for bands, books and businesses that millions have become fans of on the world's largest online social network.

Currently, users can list their activities, interests, favourite music and TV shows as part of their profiles. But links to Facebook "pages" for wine, your local library or the Lakers basketball team would appear in a separate section lower down.

Beginning April 19, Facebook will start prompting users to essentially combine the two. So if you listed Johnny Cash in the "favourite music" section of your profile, Facebook will now ask you to join his page, if you haven't become a fan of it already.

You'll be able to hide this connection on your profile, but your name will still be listed on the Johnny Cash page as one of the 1.2 million "people who like this" - what Facebook used to term "fans." The same goes for users' home towns, education and work places.

But there are more to Facebook pages than brands and bands.

People like pickles, they like sleeping in and 641,653 people even like the Norwegian Olympic curling team's pants. So for such things, Facebook is rolling out "community pages."

In many cases this page will include the Wikipedia entry on the topic, along with Facebook posts from friends and others discussing it. The page collects and displays posts by Facebook users mentioning cooking. Users will see posts from their friends and from strangers who haven't restricted public access to their updates.

But for now, there is no option for users to interact with the cooking page, for example, by posting a message directly on its "wall." Facebook said it will be asking people "who are passionate about any of these topics" to sign up as a contributor, though the company did not say when this would begin.

Facebook is also adding some privacy controls so that users' friends can't see the list of other friends they have. Under a new section called "friends, tags and connections," users will be able to limit who can see what on their profile. Facebook had taken away this option with its overhaul of privacy settings in December, but users and privacy advocates have been asking for it back.

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