Facebook's newest feature lets selected friends add images to a shared photo album. Here's how it works -- and how to keep it private.
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Just back from vacation? Sharing your photos will get a lot easier thanks to a new feature Facebook is currently testing.
According to reports, Facebook is slowly launching shared photo albums with a small number of English-speaking users. This feature allows multiple Facebook friends to upload images to the same album. The creator of the album can assign up to 50 contributors who can add up to 200 photos each, Facebook said. Previously, users could upload photos only to their own albums, which were capped at 1,000 photos total.
This feature, like many Facebook has launched in the past, is the result of a hackathon -- a night-long event that Facebook routinely holds to encourage its employees to innovate and collaborate on new ideas and features, according to Bob Baldwin, software engineer at Facebook and co-creator of shared albums. "Right now, if you were at a party and there were three different albums created, you might not be able to see all the photos [based on privacy settings], which is kind of confusing and frustrating," Baldwin said.
Shared albums have privacy settings similar to those of traditional Facebook photo albums. The creator of the shared album sets its privacy settings to either public, friends of contributors or contributors only. The creator of the album also has the ability to edit and delete photos, while the album's contributors can make changes only to the photos they upload. This feature has limited mobile functionality and no business or brand page support, Facebook said.
To determine whether you have the shared albums feature, upload an album like you normally would: Click the "Photos" tab on the left-side navigation and choose "Create Album" in the top-right corner. Fill out the information for your album, including its name and album details, then select photos you want to add.
Facebook will give you the option to make the album shared on the next screen, after you click "Post Photos." A "Make Shared Album" button will appear in the top-left corner; click this to review and select the appropriate privacy setting. This form also lets you select the contributors you want to add to the shared album. You are able to assign only your Facebook friends as contributors.
Each of your contributors will receive a notification that you have made them a contributor to an album. They can then add photos to the shared album as they would to a personal photo album.
Facebook plans to expand shared albums' features in the future. This could include an increased photo limit beyond 200 photos per contributor and additional mobile functionality. Currently mobile users can only contribute to shared albums.