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Facebook's Giant Blunder

Oops FacebookThis morning, social networking megasite Facebook launched self-proclaimed "cool features" called feeds AKA stalker aides. You can see everything every one of your friends has done -- changed their relationship status, written on people's walls, changed their interests -- and exactly when they did it.

Facebookers are not happy. There are dozens of groups bashing the feature, the largest of which has over 20,000 643,000 (as of 5pm EST 9/7) members -- in under a week.

Mike Arrington got a secret preview of the features which he says will let users have "a much easier way of staying up to date on what their friends are up to." GigaOm writer Liz Gannes announces that "Facebook finally makes itself useful."

Mike and Liz: have you ever used Facebook? Not tried it out, but seriously used Facebook, day after day? This is not cool. It's one thing to stay up-to-date by seeing a friend has updated their profile. It's quite another to be able to view the history of their relationship status, and see exactly who and when they make new friends.

I feel bad for Facebook Feeds Product Manager Ruchi Sanghvi, whose name is plastered all over the anti-feeds groups and is likely receiving thousands of messages.

I feel especially bad because this mess is overshadowing Facebook Elections, which also launched last night -- and is a pretty cool feature.

My suggestion: Facebook needs to immediately make a very simple way for users to stop their items from appearing in anyone's feeds. Then, they need to publicize it. They say you can just change your privacy settings, but I don't see an option to disable feeds.

If Facebook chooses to ignore the impressive and loud feedback of its users, it may lose them.

Posted in Business, Media, Observations, rants on September 05, 2006, 07:49 PM | Permalink


Hey there Scott,

I do actually use Facebook quite a bit. I agree the new features should have been better explained and restricted, but I still think they will make the site more useful for me. Still, I can't help but keep an eye on the outcry -- my news feed is telling me all about it!


Posted by: Liz Gannes at September 5, 2006 11:20 PM

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