Facebook fans voice dissent

Facebook fans voice dissent

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Recent changes have spawned a host of protest groups with millions of members, writes Adrian Wan

Mass protest seems to be the typical reaction to every change Facebook makes to its design and layout. The new look that greeted users this month was no exception.

It has been about three weeks since the site, which just celebrated its sixth anniversary, introduced the changes, and the hate campaigns are already in full flow.

The biggest change is to homepage navigation. The left-hand menu has become a host of dashboards, which is meant to make it easier to browse friends' content. The new message centre means messages can be sent without navigating away from the homepage.

Another big change is that notifications, requests and messages also moved; you now receive a red bubble when someone has written on your wall or tagged you in a photo.

Facebook believe the changes make things simpler. 'We hope the simplified design of the homepage will make it easy for you to stay connected with the people, applications and activities that matter the most to you,' engineer Jing Chen said on the Facebook blog. But users' reviews have been mixed.

Facebook user Olivia Colamonico replied: 'You really need to change [back to] the old Facebook. I hate this new one. I can't find anything.'

Another irritated user, Glen Wagner, said: 'I've grown really tired of all the changes ... Each time I'm on here I feel frustrated by things that were very simple in the past. None of the changes made to Facebook in the last three years has made me enjoy using it more than before.'

Users who voice approval of the change are few and far between. Matt Mendoza protested on the wall of the 211,855-member 'Save the old version of Facebook!' group: 'Things are just laid out so everything you need is on the one screen', but few people support his views.

Some members of that groups are trying to make the most of what they consider a bad situation. One discussion thread is titled 'Constructive criticism', and members such as Oliver Lubker call for calm, saying: 'In case we don't get the old version back, let's at least make the new one as good as possible', asking others to make helpful suggestions which could be forwarded to Facebook HQ.

But the majority of comments are negative, and the protest groups are hugely popular. 'Facebook: switch back to the old news feed!!!' has pulled in more than 1.3 million members like Delisa Mills Frick, who wrote 'Why try to fix something that wasn't broke?'

The 'Change Facebook back to normal!!' group has more than 2 million members, such as Diane Blakey who wrote: "I'm too old for change; get the old Facebook back!'

But whether these millions of disappointed Facebookers will actually participate in the greatest protest and close their accounts remains to be seen.

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