Online hangout Facebook, seeking to avoid a second revolt over privacy, is offering members more controls over their personal profile pages as it relaxes eligibility requirements to join.
Since its launch in 2004, Facebook has been restricted mostly to college campuses. High school students and employees of some companies were later allowed to join. Starting this week, anyone can join simply by providing a valid e-mail address.
This means existing users can now invite their previously ineligible friends, but the move also risks changing the tone of a community where trust and privacy are key.
Earlier this month, users revolted when Facebook introduced a feature that allows easier tracking of changes their friends make to profiles. Users equated the feature to stalking and threatened protests and boycotts until Facebook, three days later, apologized and agreed to let users turn off the feature so that others can't easily see what they do.
Facebook also delayed its planned expansion and solicited feedback from members. As a result, this past Tuesday's expansion is coming with users' ability to block others from searching for their names and control whether their pictures show up in search results.