Backing Slowly Away From Facebook

So, everyone knows that Facebook has been on a tear the last couple of years to force their user base to use Facebook the way they think you should use it. (Right? This is pretty much common knowledge at this point, yes?) Every design update and developmental decision they’ve made in the last who-knows-how-many iterations of the service have been centered not on improving the user experience but on making more money for Facebook. They’ve thumbed their collective noses at us and jabbed their fingers in our eyes and basically told us that they know better than we do what information and updates we actually want to see. Nevermind the fact that there are dozens of browser extensions out there designed to force Facebook back into a more user-friendly format. Facebook knows best, and we’re supposed to just shut up about it and let them serve us.

When Facebook implemented Top Stories into the news feed in the mobile app, it was frustrating because, even though it gave you the option of showing the most recent updates (well, some of them, anyway), it wouldn’t allow you set your feed that way permanently. It still doesn’t. Because Facebook knows best, remember? But at least they put the option to change views in a relatively easy to access location. Just pull down slightly on your news feed to reveal the toggle, select Most Recent, and let the feed refresh.

In the latest update for the Facebook mobile app (iOS), they decided to do away with that option. Sort of. Oh, you can still choose to view the Most Recent version of your feed, but now you have to work at it a little harder. That easy-to-use toggle? Gone. Now if you want to view the Most Recent items, you have to dig for it.

fb1

The path to Most Recent is now about three layers deep. In order to find it, you have to tap on More in the lower right corner, then scroll down the screen until you find the Feeds section. It’ll be below the Favorites category, the Pages section, Groups, Apps, and Interests. Facebook really doesn’t want you to find it. To the right of the Feeds subheading is a tiny little arrow that points to the right. Tap this and a list of all the different feeds you can view will drop down. In the screenshot below, Most Recent is at the top of my list. That probably won’t be the case for you, at least not for the first few times you select it. It took a good half dozen times to get it float to the top of my list because apparently that’s how many times it takes before the app decides I’m serious about viewing it.

fb2

This is just one item in a long list of complaints I have about Facebook. I’ve written about them before, at length (see the Related posts below, if you’re interested), and very few of my concerns have ever been corrected. If it wasn’t for the fact that Facebook is so entrenched in the social media stream, I’d delete my account right now. As it is, I’m starting to back away and use it less and less because A) I find it so gosh-darned frustrating to use and B) they’ve demonstrated time and again that they exist not for their users but for lining their own pockets. Which is good for them, I guess, but I’m tired of supporting a social ecosystem that I loathe and despise, and that loathes and despises me in turn.

I keep waiting for someone else to step and provide a competing solution that actually puts the users first. Google’s attempted to supplant them with their G+ service, even going so far as to ramrod it down their own user’s throats, with only minimal effectiveness. And Google has data privacy issues of their own in certain areas. Nothing else really exists. WordPress has a great little social media system called BuddyPress that you can set up and customize to your heart’s content, and I’ve been more than a little tempted to try going that route myself. What BuddyPress lacks, however, is the reach that Facebook (and even G+) has, and there’s no way you’re ever going to get your entire social network on Facebook to convert to a new, smaller network.

So here we wait, hoping something better comes along or that the Facebook executives will finally decide they don’t like making money hand over fist (yeah, right) to make a product that users actually like. Anyone wanna built a better social network with me?

Have anything to add to the conversation?