Facebook has tweaked their site design, once again. And once again, nobody likes it.
Facebook has just announced changes to the way their user’s Top Stories are presented that come on the heels of the social networking site’s changes to subscriptions and the introduction of automatic friends lists.
“When you visit Facebook, you should see the things you’re most interested in, like status updates from your family and closest friends,” Mark Tonkelowitz, an engineering manager for Facebook said in a blog post.
“But it’s not just the people you hear from that make your News Feed interesting,” he added. “It also matters how much you visit Facebook. If you haven’t returned in a week, you may want to see a summary of top stories first. If you’ve already visited several times that day, you probably care more about recent news.”
One of the changed to your news feed is the ability to determine what kinds of posts land on your front page. When you hover over a status update, the corner will turn blue. When you click it, you’ll tell Facebook it’s a top story. You’ll then see more posts like it in your homepage. This is useful if you’re following certain feeds or other people, and aren’t so crazy about that person you kinda-sorta-talked-to-once-or-twice-in-high-school’s repeated posts of their new baby.
How frequently you visit Facebook will determine what posts you see. If you only check the site once in a while, you’ll see the top posts from while you were away. If you’re one of those people who check it obsessively, you’ll see the most recent posts first. Facebook has done away with the ability to switch from top posts to new posts, which has rankled some users, if the comments on the blog post announcing the move are anything to go by.
The other major change to the layout is the addition of the Ticker. In the Ticker, you’ll see what your friends are doing, whether they post a comment or like a post, instantly instead of you having to click refresh all the time. The experience is, well, a lot like Twitter.
As seems to always happen whenever Facebook tweaks the tiniest little thing on their site, lots of users hate it. Or at least the users who bother to leave comments. With a user base as big as Facebook’s, it’s not surprising that over 3,000 comments have been left on the blog post so far, most of them negative. Many of them feel that Facebook is trying to control what they see instead of the site by using impersonal algorithms instead of letting them decdie for themselves.
But it seems that people always adjust to the Facebook’s changes only to complain about the next round of interface tweaks, no matter how hard they huff and puff about leaving. Now that a viable alternative, Google+ (which itself has added some new features), exists, perhaps there will be a Digg-like mass exodus when users make good on their threats.