Facebook has begun prominently pushing a feature called Close Friends, that allows you to keep close tabs on well, your close friends.
Facebook reportedly began promoting the feature this week; it showed up on my Facebook page on Thursday night, when I naively assumed that it was a standard feature I had simply missed after recently rejoining Facebook.
It's unclear how long it's been there, however; some commenters to a Mashable story on Close Friends said that the feature had been available for months.
Facebook advertises the Close Friends feature as a way to organise your friends into Smart Lists - those friends that work with you, attended the same schools, or are members of your family. The Close Friends feature is a premium level of sorts for friends, where Facebook advertises that content placed in that tier should show up more. In a way, it's another official 'circle' of friends, of which Facebook claims are now three: close friends, acquaintances, and family. (On my page, however, Facebook added the close friends group, but then divided the remainder between my school, PC Magazine, and family).
In practice, Close Friends opens up quite a bit of information. Every action that friend takes on the network - likes, comments, friending, et cetera - shows up on the Close Friends feed, usually with a textual description next to it. Facebook applies filtering to your news feed to weed our less relevant information; not so with the Close Friends, which is more of a raw feed of information.
That's also different than the way Facebook organises Timelines. There, Facebook groups the friends a user makes using icons, summarising them in a box. Not so with Close Friends - as your friend conducts an action, that action appears in a news feed.
Facebook doesn't notify your friends that you are their own 'close' friend, and it doesn't reciprocate, either, so it can feel a bit like you're spying on your best friends. But, Facebook seems to be saying, you can't have any secrets from your best friends, right?