Could Facebook become the next Dropbox — or a haven for sharing files without regard to copyright?
The social network has revealed to that all Groups will now offer the ability to send files. This update rolls out to a small percentage of groups Thursday, and will become available to others during the following days. If you don’t have the feature already, Facebook wants you to know you’ll have it “soon.”
Facebook Groups for Schools, launched last month, incorporated the file-sharing feature — but you needed a .edu address to use it.
Users can upload most file types up to 25MB — the same file size limit as Gmail. The exceptions: music files (sorry, old-school Napster fans) and executable (.exe) files (sorry, hackers). But e-books, comics, music videos and other small movies are fair game.
To prevent the spread of malicious, inappropriate or copyrighted files, “users can report files the same way they can with other content across the site,” a Facebook spokesperson said. Whether a group that wants to share such things will willingly turn itself in remains to be seen.
More than 380 million people use Facebook Groups. Being able to share files was one of the most common requests from groups users, the spokesperson said.
This is how the new file sharing feature will look:
In October 2010, Facebook acquired simple file sharing service drop.io. Unlike Adobe Connect or Dropbox users, drop.io users did not have to register to use the site. They could simply upload a file, create a “drop” with links to files and share it with others.
Drop.io also had free conference call service — so perhaps Facebook can incorporate this technology into its file sharing feature in future.
Do you use Facebook Groups? What do you think about this latest feature? Sound off in the comments.
Christina Warren contributed to this report.