You have to feel sorry for the folks at Facebook. Despite the fact that they have made no changes to privacy settings, the site’s users are offended, feeling as though their privacy has been invaded. This is despite the fact that Facebook’s new features don’t reveal any data that wasn’t already out in the open in the first place.
So what’s the gripe? Log in to the home page and you see a big list of pretty mundane data about what your friends have done. It’s not very interesting. “X is at home”, “Y removed walking from his interests”, things like that. Hardly earth-shattering stuff — and it’s all stuff that your friends would have seen anyway, just in a different place.
The ‘mini-feeds’ on each user’s profile have caused the greatest upset though. My mini-feed is pretty boring: there are only two entries so far (1. I’m at home, 2. I’ve added my religious views (another new feature) to my profile). But that’s mostly because I don’t use Facebook so much.
Look at somebody else’s mini-feed, and you’ll get a longer list, but it’s mostly things like “X wrote on Y‘s wall” over and over again. And, vitally, this is all information that your friends would have seen anyway. So essentially we have all the same stuff, just put in a different place. And have you seen those little crosses next to each entry in your mini-feed? You can delete every single thing if you want anyway.
All this stuff about making Facebook “stalker-esque” is a bit overblown. For starters, only your friends can see all of this information about you. The same people can see the same information as they could before, just in a different place. And if you’re adding potential stalkers as friends on Facebook, then that’s your own sorry fault for treating the friends counter like a gameshow scoreboard.
Also, if you’re complaining about the new layout being too cluttered, did you not notice that you can actually now toggle everything so that it magically disappears? The little arrow next to every heading?
So the fuss is all a bit confusing for me. I guess students always feel as though they have to have something to rebel against. Makes them feel important.
Personally, I’m a big fan of Facebook’s new features. They allow you to keep tabs on your friends without having to traipse through their profile page all the time. And if you don’t want somebody to take an interest, why did you add them as a ‘friend’?
Update: Groups for people who are fed up with the complaints: Quit bitching about the Facebook feed! Its easy to fix!; stfu about new facebook features (via).