Update: Our readers weigh in.
On Friday, Facebook rolled out a minor redesign of its status feed, which allows users to toggle between two filtering options. As we noted at the time, the new "Live Feed" is like an open faucet – the status updates, photos, and links come spilling out at a rapid clip. The "News Feed," on the other hand, chews through information posted by your friends and family, and spits out only the stuff Facebook thinks you'll find interesting.
"Some of you may ask why we are changing the home page again," Facebook staffer Raylene Yung noted in a post on the Facebook blog. "Like you, we know it can be disruptive when things are moved around, but we hope that these changes make Facebook a more valuable experience for you. We put a lot of thought into all the changes we make to the site and do a lot of testing before releasing anything."
Yung obviously knew that not everyone would love the changes. But we wonder if Facebook staffers anticipated how vociferous the opposition would get. Less than a week after the news feed redesign, hundreds of thousands of users have taken to Twitter, the blogs, and their own Facebook feeds to protest the recent changes.
Meanwhile, Facebook groups such as "Change Facebook back to normal" and "Members want the old Facebook format back" have watched their numbers swell above the one million user mark. "I read a news article that said fb changed it due to 'user feedback.' I am member #1,227,578 of this group so I do not believe users want this," a member of the first group wrote today. "I know I don't. At least give us an option between what we had and this."
Much of the criticism of the redesign has centered on the functionality of the new filtering options. Writing in the comments section of this blog, for instance, one reader noted the following:
I’d rather look for myself to figure out what I might enjoy, rather than them deciding for me. The Live [F]eed for some odd reason chooses to publish every random detail that my friends change or do on their profile which I really don’t care about and didn’t have to see before. Why should I care that one of my friends is now friends with a person I don’t even know? I don’t know. Facebook and its blatant disregard for what its users want astounds me.
Of course Facebook redesigns aren't exactly infrequent. (Among the most recent updates is Facebook Lite, a pared-down interface aimed at social networking newbies.) And with every new redesign comes a raft of new complaints. In fact, the irascible nature of Facebook users is so well known that a couple jokers have even started a group called “I AUTOMATICALLY HATE THE NEW FACEBOOK HOME PAGE." It has close to 20,000 members.
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