Facebook, Twitter Test New Features on Users

Social networks are in a constant state of evolution -- but not every change is good.



Social networks are constantly evolving, and users are often unhappy with these changes. Facebook’s messenger spin-off has received a lot of negative feedback, and UI changes come with vocal backlash. But the tweaks keep coming. Most recently, Twitter experimented with turning favorites into retweets, and Facebook started sucking the fun out of satire.

The favorites and updates about follow activity that is showing up in select timelines is part of Twitter tinkering with the UI. Overall, the change went over very poorly among the users exposed to it. The Next Web editor Jon Russell sees clearly why users would resist these changes: They’re not in line with Twitter’s core operation.

“It feels like those in charge don’t understand the basics of how the service is used. Rather than embracing new opportunities such as direct messages — Twitter is changing its core features to make them worse,” Russell writes.

Messing with an existing formula that works for a core user-base is a great way to raise ire. Facebook started adding [Satire] to the headlines of articles from The Onion, which has some users upset.

After clicking a link from The Onion in your news feed, Facebook will generate three more suggested articles. According to Sam Machkovech, technology reporter for Ars Technica and fan of The Onion: “Facebook has begun trying to ruin even these fun articles by appending their titles with a ‘satire’ tag.”

The problem with tagging satire as satire is that it removes all the power from the joke. Hopefully, most people understand that satire is what The Onion does. While the satire tag isn’t breaking a core feature, it does pretty much ruin the joke for any satire publication out there that might get tagged in this new initiative.

Of course, when social networks test changes, they invite this sort of feedback. If the feature tests well, it usually gets rolled out to wider circles. In the case of the satire tag, Facebook told Ars Technica that users requested such a feature. But as long as the core experience of the site doesn’t change, users will probably forget about it pretty soon.