Facebook users criticize site's latest makeover

Another Facebook redesign, another instance of unhappy, frustrated users

Three days after the latest makeover of Facebook's home page, hundreds of thousands of unhappy users are voicing their frustrations about the changes.

Facebook has been rolling out updates to its home page pretty consistently, and this isn't the first time that users have been heated and vocal in criticizing the moves. In the latest makeover, which came last Friday, the social networking site started offering two views of the News Feed -- a summary view of highlights of the past day and a real-time view.

"You will be able to catch up on what you may have missed while you were away from Facebook, and then easily switch to the real-time stream when you want to see posts as soon as they're shared," said Raylene Yung, a Facebook engineer, in a blog post.

"We also added information back to News Feed that many of you have asked for, including when your friends have been tagged in photos or have become fans of Pages, in addition to when they RSVP for events or join groups and make new friends. We also made birthdays and events more visible in the right column of the home page."

Yung noted that the Highlights section that used to appear on the right-hand side of the page has been moved into the News Feed in the main part of the page.

"Like you, we know it can be disruptive when things are moved around, but we hope that these changes make Facebook a more valuable experience for you," she added. "We put a lot of thought into all the changes we make to the site and do a lot of testing before releasing anything."

But many of Facebook's users are not impressed with the changes.

About 500,000 members have already joined a new Facebook page called PLEASE GIVE US OUR OLD NEWS FEED BACK!. The user posts on the page are largely calling for Facebook's executives to drop the changes and make the site look and feel like it did a week ago.

"Hate the new layout please put it back the way it was. If it ain't broke, don't fix it," wrote one user. Another said, "I'm all for improvements, but this doesn't seem to be one. 'Status Updates' doesn't show all updated statuses. I have to view both Live Feed and News Feed to see all status updates as well."

As usual, frustrated users also took to Twitter to voice their views.

While a few said they like the changes, most echoed this user, who wrote, "Ugh, why must @facebook constantly make changes to the homepage?"

In an e-mail to Computerworld, Facebook spokeswoman Meredith Chin would not say whether the company plans to revoke any of the changes.

"We are grateful to have 300 million people worldwide using Facebook to connect with the people and things they care about most, and we take their feedback very seriously," she wrote. "We encourage people to send us constructive, detailed feedback and are committed to using it to inform how we build and improve the site for everyone."

Last March, after a highly unpopular Facebook makeover, the company caved in to user pressure and made changes to the design. The social networking company also took some big hits when it revised its terms of service earlier this year. The criticism prompted changes from Facebook.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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