Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the news conference at Facebook headquarters.

Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the news conference at Facebook headquarters. Photo: Getty Images/AFP

Facebook today began letting users form cozy cliques as part of a move to give people more control of their information at the world's most popular online social network.

A "Groups" feature that lets Facebook members set up private online havens for clusters of co-workers, family, teammates, or others was unveiled at a press event at the firm's headquarters in the California city of Palo Alto.

"We think that what we have out of the box, version one, blows away everything else," Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said, referring to "groups" services offered by internet stalwarts such as Yahoo! and Google.

Facebook also began rolling out a feature that will let people download all pictures, video, comments and other digital information they have uploaded to the social networking service.

"Download is really so you can have a copy of all your information," Zuckerberg said. "You own your information. You should have control over it. You should be able to do whatever you want with it."

A new "dashboard" feature to be rolled out in the coming days will let Facebook users see and manage what information in their accounts is accessed by third-party applications.