After experimenting with the option for more than a year, Meta has now launched its new multi-profile option, which will enable users to create multiple Facebook profiles to explore different interests, share different content with different audiences, etc.
As you can see in this sequence, using the new “Create another profile” option, you’ll now be able to put together custom, interest-based profiles, so that you can engage in a broader range of interests, and build separate friend lists and feeds.
As explained by Meta:
“Whether you’re new to Facebook or a longtime user, you may want to keep your personal and professional relationships separate, or you may want to keep one profile tied to a community you’re a part of and another profile just for friends. Creating multiple personal profiles lets you easily organize who you share with and what content you see for the various parts of your life. Think one profile for the foodie scene you love and another one to keep up with your friends and family.”
You can create up to four additional personal profiles in the app, each with its own username and feed, which will help to maintain a level of separation and privacy, and could also help users feel more comfortable sharing about more of their interests.
Which is not entirely new.
As noted, Meta actually began testing this option last July, and based on those initial experiments, Meta says that many beta users have enjoyed having clearer separation between different elements.
“We heard from people that clearer organization of friends, groups, and interests helps them feel freer to engage with the audience they believe is most relevant. And we’ve seen the success of separate interest-based accounts on Instagram, so we’re excited to bring this option to Facebook.”
Because people, in general, are sharing way less to Facebook than they used to.
Back in January, Meta reported that Facebook usage was rising, as more people spent more time watching short form content in their feeds. But at the same time, its creation and engagement elements were in decline, with fewer people posting to both Facebook and Instagram than they have in the past.
That’s reflective of the broader trend towards social entertainment. As more apps become discovery platforms, led by their never-ending streams of short form video clips, which are algorithmically attuned to your interests, actual posting and sharing of your own updates is becoming an afterthought.
Indeed, Meta has repeatedly noted that more people are now sharing content in their DMs, with smaller groups of friends, than they are posting to their main feeds.
Part of that is due to divisive content and debates that are often sparked by social posts, with many users now more hesitant to put their own content out there, for fear of backlash. But for the most part, it seems that the appeal of sharing personal updates has simply declined.
Maybe that’s because you’re competing with so many other entertaining posts, but maybe it could be because people just don’t want to share all of their updates with everybody they’re connected with.
And in that sense, maybe this new update will help people feel more comfortable in sharing, by enabling them to post to selected communities in isolation.
I mean, you will have to switch over to another profile for each, which I just don’t see becoming a habitual behavior for most users, and really, it seems more likely to invite negative behaviors, like trolling, via a separate identity.
But maybe, any engagement is good engagement in Meta’s eyes, and it’s happy to facilitate such, in any way that it can.
Interestingly, Meta’s also been experimenting with the same in groups, with users now able to create separate “About Me” sections for each community, in order to highlight more specific information.
So will this make people feel more comfortable sharing, and get them posting more personal updates again?
As noted, the biggest hurdle I see is that people will actually have to switch over to another profile, and check in on their separate notifications on each. Then they’ll have to ensure that they don’t post from the wrong profile to the other community, and overall, I don’t imagine that the benefits, for most, will outweigh the extra steps.
But it’s an option, and Meta must have seen some positive indicators in its initial testing.
So maybe it’s something. We’ll have to wait and see.
Note: Meta says that, at launch, some features, including Dating, Marketplace, Professional Mode and payments, will not be available to additional personal profiles. There will also be some restrictions on messaging for additional profiles created, with messaging only available in the Facebook app and on the web.
The ability to create multiple personal profiles is starting to roll out globally from today, with all users to get access to the option over the next few months.