Users Backlash over Facebook 'News' Feeds

Dennis Faas's picture

Many Facebook users who've been signed off over the weekend will be surprised this Monday morning by a homepage makeover, including revised status updates and a revamped News Feed. Unfortunately, most users are cringing, rather than celebrating the changes.

The News Feed has been updated so that posts and status updates with plenty of comments -- often in the form of "likes" (sadly, there's no "dislike" option) -- will get priority when the site's algorithm decides which updates to display on your home page. It means that those comments creating the biggest buzz amongst your friends won't pass you by. (Source:

Expert: Changes Make Facebook "More Useful"

Social networking expert Robert Scoble believes the change is a good decision, and could add to Facebook's allure by keeping users from getting exhausted by the mounds of useless status data that comes their way -- usually in the form of annoying mini-game invites or status updates by friends who feel every single thought springing from their heads need to be shared with the world, immediately, online.

"This makes Facebook much more useful because you only see the items that your friends have found important enough to comment on or 'touch' in some way," Scoble said.

However, most users appear, at least early on, to be most dissatisfied with the "upgrade". The News Feed updates ranked by popularity often include comments from friends of friends and even friends of their friends, meaning a topic or comment discussed at length by irrelevant people can still make it high on a person's News Feed.

Dual-Feeding Causes Controversy

The major difference between last week's Facebook and the new one dawning this week: there are now two "Feeds". The "News Feed" will present information deemed most relevant to members of your network because of the number of comments and "likes" made about it, while a "Live Feed" will broadcast updates as they come down the pipe.

Currently, my News Feed includes a status update from last night at 8:04 that has been commented upon several times since. The "Live Feed" features status updates that may or may not be popular amongst my friends, but keep me up-to-date on what everyone is doing right now.

Users Protest: Feeds Not Friend-ly

According to PC World, protests have already been heard. Users don't like switching back and forth between the two feeds, and some are downright angry that they have to read five or six comments by non-friends on status updates by semi-friends. Personally, that #1 on my News Feed might be well commented upon, but it does not feature discussion from a single person from my own friends list. (Source:

Still, like all Facebook "upgrades" this new style will simply take some getting used to. Once again the web's (arguably) most popular social networking site has made a change in order to emulate its number one competitor (Twitter), and by doing so it has made the thoughts and opinions of users more readily available than ever before.

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