Facebook fan box: Are you a fan of embedding?

Facebook continues to poke its way into the public sphere with the fan box, a widget you can embed on your own Web site. Find out if we're fans of the idea

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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Facebook has launched the 'fan box', a widget that shows off what's happening on your fan page in a box on a Web site outside of Facebook. All the latest updates are listed, and you can also include pictures of your fans, although we imagine some fans may have something to say about that. The coolest feature is the 'Become a fan' button at the top, which allows readers to -- you guessed it -- become a fan in one click, without having to navigate to Facebook.

If you're the administrator of a Facebook fan page, such as the CNET UK fan page -- hi! -- you can embed the widget on your own site via the simple cut and paste of a bit of code. Here's ours -- can you see the 'Become a fan' button? It's right there at the top. Pretty tempting, isn't it? Okay, suit yourself.

CNET.co.uk on Facebook

It's similar to the YouTube video-embed process. We'd argue it was embedding that made YouTube the biggest video site on the Web, and Facebook quietly embraced video embeds earlier this year, as it began to expand beyond the closed system it's traditionally been.

For example, status updates can now be made public. That's a controversial decision, and seen by many as a -- misguided? -- attempt to ape Twitter, now the microblogging platform has kicked off big-style, or whatever the kids say. Oh, CNET UK is on Twitter as well, in case we hadn't mentioned it. We did? Excellent.

Great news for Facebook then -- but not so much for you and your brand. After all, who wants to send traffic away from their site?

How do you feel about Facebook opening to the world in this way? Are you all for breaking down the walled garden or do you prefer to keep your Facebook page private?