Users Fight Back Against the New Facebook

Facebook users are typically not receptive to change. When Facebook unleashed the News Feed a couple years ago, the Facebook user base fought back, creating groups to remove the news feed and challenging Facebook on the lack of privacy under the new system. Facebook eventually added privacy settings to control what would be displayed in your friends’ feeds but they didn’t remove the feature all together.

Facebook is known for taking two steps forward and one step back. The same thing happened when Facebook announced Facebook Beacon. The program which would track users’ activities around the web was opt-out and wasn’t very transparent. The result was that Beacon was temporarily pushed aside, becoming opt-in and the press applauded Facebook’s decision to support the users’ privacy rights.

Ultimately Facebook Connect will bring about the revival of Beacon, except under a different name. In the meantime, while Facebook Connect is being rolled out, Facebook has launched a new site design. Initially only serving 5 percent of the site’s users, there appeared to be little backlash on the new design. The new design has been rapidly rolled out to more users and we are beginning to see the result.

One group on Facebook, “People against the New Facebook System” has over 26,000 members and appears to be growing at over 2,000 users a day. Another group, “The New Facebook Layout SUCKS!” has over 7,200 members. While these are still relatively low numbers compared to those that grouped together to fight against past changes, the movement appears to be gaining traction.

This time around, I doubt we will see Facebook move back to the old design though given the large investment they’ve placed in the new design. The new design also attempts to reduce the clutter that was generated by the new applications. Are you in support of the new Facebook design?

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