Facebook to launch a Subscribe button for websites

Facebook is planning to launch a Subscribe button that websites can embed on their pages. Think of it like Twitter's Follow button, except that it's for subscribing to Facebook users.

Facebook today announced plans to introduce a Subscribe button for websites. The goal is to allow anyone to subscribe to your public Facebook status updates, assuming you've turned the feature on, of course.

The announcement was made at Le Web 2011 by Joanna Shields, VP and Managing Director for Facebook Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), according to TNW. She revealed that the company is planning to "imminently" roll out a Subscribe plugin that can be embedded on websites to allow visitors to subscribe to updates with just a click.

"We will soon launch the Subscribe plugin, an extension of the Subscribe button, that publishers and other developers can add to their websites to make it easy for people to connect to reporters and public figures in one click," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "We have no further details to share at this time.”

If you're a Twitter user, here's the best way to explain it to you. Subscribe is to Follow as Like is to Tweet. Twitter launched a Follow button in May 2011 (you can see mine below) and now Facebook wants to offer its equivalent.

Three months ago, Facebook announced Subscriptions, an optional feature that lets you control what types of stories you get from your friends and non-friends in your News Feed. Subscriptions are meant to help you keep up to date with people you're not friends with.

In other words, they're one-way friendships for subscribing to a public figure, celebrity, politician, journalist, or anyone else who wants to post public updates via their Facebook profile. It benefits both parties: the subscriber (could be you), who wants to use Facebook to receive a person's updates, as well as the public figure (also could be you), who wants to reach their audience on Facebook without having a separate Page. The updates from that person appear in the subscriber's News Feed, alongside updates from their friends and the Pages they have Liked.

This new button will let you subscribe to a person's content when you're not on Facebook, like a news website, blog, and so on. Given how big Facebook is, and how popular the Like button is already, the Subscribe button will likely be adopted very quickly across the Web.

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