On Eve of Site Redesign, Facebook Users Protest

On the eve of Facebook’s launch of its redesigned site this week, a vocal minority of users are protesting the change, and are threatening leaving the site out of disgust.

Since announcing the final migration date last week, membership in the Facebook group Petition Against the “New Facebook” has skyrocketed to over 400,000 members as of 3pm PT Saturday, and hundreds of comments have been left on this blog since we reported the news.

Why are some users so upset? Most users complaining about the changes say it is too hard to navigate. One user writes,

this new facebook sucks. seriously. it’s too hard to maneuver, very very ugly, takes up way too much space on the screen, and it slows computers down. you don’t need to fix what wasn’t broken, fb.

Facebook has stated all along throughout the redesign process that its intention was to reduce application clutter and make the feed more prominent. Posting a FAQ in the Facebook Blog this week, Facebook’s Mark Slee reiterated those reasons. Nevertheless, many users don’t see the same problems with the old design that Facebook does.

Protesting site changes isn’t new to Facebook users. When Facebook launched the News Feed two years ago this week, over 750,000 users joined the Students Against Facebook News Feed group.

Since that time, users have grown to love the News Feed and the value it provides by voting with their feet: Facebook has grown from 15 million active users in September 2006 to over 100 million active users in September 2008.

Will the same thing happen with the upcoming final Facebook profile redesign? Facebook, which has extensively tested the redesign with thousands of users, definitely hopes and believes that it will.