We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Facebook One-Ups Twitter with Site 'Subscribe' Button

The new Subscribe button mimics Twitter by allowing Facebook users to follow each other without being friends

Facebook is promoting a new "Subscribe" button that can be embedded on websites that is essentially its version of Twitter’s "follow" button. Facebook's button complements the Subscribe feature introduced in September, which allows Facebook users to follow each other without being friends -- again, similar to Twitter.

The new Subscribe button works in the same way as the Facebook Like button. When you click it, you will see the public posts of the person to whom you subscribed. The button is meant to create a viral effect by notifying your friends when you subscribe to a person’s profile – but first that person must have enabled subscriptions enabled on her or his profile.

You will find the first implementations of the Subscribe button on publishers’ websites, from Newsweek to Huffington Post and TechCrunch, and adding the button to a website is just as straightforward as embedding a Like button, with a bit of code.

Stepping Up Social Rivalry

Facebook made several defensive moves this year to protect its status as the world’s largest social network, with more than 700 million users. Threatened by Google’s latest dabble in social, Google+, Facebook launched friends lists, akin to the circles on Google+.

Twitter is also in Facebook’s crosshairs, first with the Subscribe feature earlier this autumn, which enables follower-like activity for profiles without requiring being friends with someone. On the same day Twitter announced a major redesign, the Facebook’s Subscribe embeddable button mimics the behavior of the follow button.

The problem is that Facebook’s borrowed features offer as little flexibility as the source of their inspiration. For example, you can't restrict updates to your Facebook subscribers (as you would with circles on Google+) and brand pages lack a Subscribe button.

Follow Daniel Ionescu and Today @ PCWorld on Twitter

IDG UK Sites

Best camera phone of 2015: iPhone 6 Plus vs LG G4 vs Galaxy S6 vs One M9 vs Nexus 6

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model