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Site features

The Wall


The Wall is a space on each user's profile page that allows friends to post messages for the user to see. One user's wall is visible to anyone with the ability to see their full profile, and different users' wall posts show up in an individual's News Feed. Many users use their friend's walls for leaving short, temporal notes. More private discourse is saved for Messages, which are sent to a person's Inbox, and are visible only to the sender and recipient(s) of the Message, much like email.

In July 2007, Facebook allowed users to post attachments to the wall, whereas previously the wall was limited to textual content only.


Gifts


In February 2007, Facebook added a new gift feature to the website. Friends could send "gifts" -- small icons of novelty items designed by former Apple designer Susan Kare -- to each other by selecting one from Facebook's virtual gift shop and adding a message. Gifts given to a user appear on the recipient's wall with the giver's message, unless the giver decided to give the gift privately, in which case the giver's name and message is not displayed to other users. Additionally, all gifts (including private gifts) received by a user are displayed in the recipient's "gift box" (right above their wall on their profile), marked with either the first name of the user (for public gifts) or the word "Private." An "Anonymous" option is also available, by which anyone with profile access can see the gift, but only the recipient will see the message. None will see the giver's name, and the gift will go in the recipient's gift box but not the wall.

Facebook users are given one free gift to give upon account signup. Each additional gift given by a user costs USD $1.00. The initial selection of gifts was Valentine's Day themed, and 50% of the net proceeds (after credit card processing fees were taken out, etc.) received through February 2007 were donated to the charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure. After the month of February, the proceeds were no longer donated. Soon after, Facebook began making one new gift available each day, most of which had a limited supply or were available for a limited time.

With the advent of Applications came a way to subvert the required US$1.00 payment; however, the gifts in the "Free Gifts" application, created by Zachary Allia, are not the same as the official gifts, as they are displayed in a different manner.

Marketplace


In May 2007, Facebook introduced the Facebook Marketplace allowing users to post free classified ads within the following categories: For Sale, Housing, Jobs, and Other. Ads can be posted in either available or wanted format. The market place is available for all Facebook users and is currently free.

Pokes


Facebook includes a "poke" feature which allows one user to send a "poke" to another. According to Facebook's FAQ section on the Poke Feature, "a poke is a way to interact with your friends on Facebook. When we created the poke, we thought it would be cool to have a feature without any specific purpose. People interpret the poke in many different ways, and we encourage you to come up with your own meanings." In principle this is intended to serve as a "nudge" to attract the attention of the other user. However while many Facebook users, as intended, use the feature to attract attention or say hello, some users construe it as a sexual advance. This interpretation of the feature inspired a popular Facebook group titled "Enough with the Poking, Lets Just Have Sex", which, as of December 2007, has more than 340,000 members.

There are several applications such as "X Me" and "SuperPoke!", that allow users to put any action in place of the word "poke."


Status


The "status" feature allows users to inform their friends and the Facebook community of their current whereabouts and actions. Facebook originally prompted the status update with "User name is..." and Facebook users filled in the rest. However, on December 13, 2007, the requirement to start a status update with "is" was removed, and all status updates read "User name ..." Status updates are noted in the "Recently updated" section of a users' friend list.

Events


Facebook events are a way for members to let friends know about upcoming events in their community and to organize social gatherings.

Applications


On May 24, 2007, Facebook launched the Facebook Platform, which provides a framework for developers to create applications that interact with core Facebook features. Even games such as chess and Scrabble are available. As of 5 December 2007, there are more than 10,000 applications.

Third-party websites such as Adonomics, which provides application metrics, and blogs such as AppRate, Inside Facebook and Face Reviews have sprung up in response to the clamor for Facebook applications.

On July 4, 2007, Altura Ventures announced the "Altura 1 Facebook Investment Fund," becoming the world's first Facebook-only venture capital firm.

On August 29, 2007, Facebook changed the way in which the popularity of applications is measured, in order to give more attention to the more engaging applications, following criticism that ranking applications only by the number of users was giving an advantage to the highly viral, yet useless applications. Tech blog Valleywag has criticized Facebook Applications, labeling them a "cornucopia of uselessness." Others have called for limiting third-party applications so the Facebook "user experience" is not degraded.

Primarily attempting to create viral applications is a method that has certainly been employed by numerous Facebook application developers. Stanford University even offered a class in the Fall of 2007, entitled, Computer Science (CS) 377W: "Create Engaging Web Applications Using Metrics and Learning on Facebook". Numerous applications created by the class were highly successful, and ranked amongst the top Facebook applications, with some achieving over 3.5 million users in a month.

Facebook Video


During the time that Facebook released its platform, it also released an application of its own for sharing videos on Facebook. Users can add their videos with the service by uploading video, adding video through Facebook Mobile, and using a webcam recording feature. Additionally, users can "tag" their friends in videos they add much like the way users can tag their friends in photos.

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