Blog Archives

Changes on Facebook

Whenever Facebook updates something, such as notification settings or email, they do it silently.  Every time this happens, posts about it will go circulating on news feeds for a couple of days, warning you.  If you don’t catch it, it’s usually not the end of the world, but I’m sure sometimes it can be a big problem.  So people complain.

But how bad is it, really, compared to how other companies would go about it?

What most companies would do is present you with pages and pages of legalese, that you would scroll down without reading, and click “I agree” at the bottom.  Or they’d send you an email saying “we’ve updated some stuff, just FYI” and if you could be bothered to click and not delete the email immediately, you’d get a list of such changes, usually padded with heaps of boring text and/or legalese.  Then you would complain.

I think the “Facebook is messing with your settings AGAIN” posts on the news feed are more effective, because instead of clicking “I agree”, you think, “god dammit Facebook” and read the thankfully concise info and change your settings.  DONE.

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Facebook Shouldn’t Have A Dislike Button

For at least a few months now, people on Facebook have been clamouring for a “Dislike” button to match the “Like” feature that’s been rather popular among users. I think this idea is stupid.

Reason #1: It’s been done. Reddit, Digg, and other social bookmarking sites, and probably many more such things, have points assigned to posts. I’m talking posts of all kinds: links, photos, notes, just like in facebook (and this website, even). The points are given by users, who vote up or down. The most popular posts rise to the top of the lists and get more views. It works well in filtering out less interesting and less funny material, and helps a browser (you know, a person who browses) find the best stuff quickly.

But on Facebook, the only posts you see are from friends and pages/groups that you choose to add. And sometimes also 500 other people who you met once but just had to add to Facebook so you can stalk them or appear more popular (omigod you have 879 friends well actually i have 933 i guess i’m just cool like that). But anyway: the whole concept of Facebook is to connect to things you already like. It’s its OWN quality filter. And you probably know what friends are more likely to post stuff you’re interested in.

Reason #2: Online bullying. When they stopped only accepting university and college students on the site, high school students flocked to it like pararazzi to Britney Spears. Just think of the ways to be cruel with this button. Think of your recent status updates or posts, and imagine your feelings if you received even one “dislike”.

And high school students can be mean as fuck. So can adults, of course, but we’re less likely to click “dislike” on everything the unpopular kid does. I can even picture innocuous “dislike”s creating firestorms of rage and broken friendships, due to simple misunderstandings. Yes, I’m being extreme, but a dislike button would have the potential to devastate. And yes, there is already the option to comment, negatively, but the dislike button is a quick-and-easy weapon that requires no thought. That is yet another part of its power.

The dislike button is sought-after in part for quick-and-easy responses to posts like “Ross has to work until 8pm tonight :(” or other things that merit sympathy. But the disadvantages of implementing this feature far outweigh any benefit. Facebook, if you’re reading this, I am available to work in your development department. From home.