The exclusive Facebook social club, until recently reserved for U.S. college students, has been slowly opening up to other groups. High School students and employees of certain corporations are allowed to create profiles. Recently Facebook also created geographic networks and allowed Facebook users to also add one geographic network to their high school, college or corporate network.
Sometime soon, Facebook will start allowing anyone to join directly into a geographic network, regardless of whether or not they are already a member.
Melanie Deitch, Facebook’s director of marketing, told me today that the feature would be released sometime soon, “probably in the next month, but no firm date has been set”. She also said that there are currently 530 geographic networks, including some non-U.S. areas such as Paris and London.
Facebook users may feel a little jittery lately with all of the drama over changes made to the site last week. In fact, in recognition of the negative press last week, Facebook delayed the launch of open registrations in order to take some time and communicate to users how privacy settings and policies work.
As new users pour into the site, they will only be able to view profiles for Facebook users who’ve chosen to be a part of their specific geographic network. Other Facebook users can be added as friends, with their permission. It’s also worth noting that users cannot frequently change geographic networks. Once you’ve chosen one, you are stuck there for a while.
Expect Facebook to make significant efforts to communicate with its existing users that their privacy will not be impacted by this change before open registrations are launched.