Posted by Renee Schmidt

The “new” Facebook: lists, updated chat, timeline, privacy settings, unfriending info and Google+?

Everyone knows that the new Facebook took some tips from the guys at Google. And to be perfectly honest, although I’m not thrilled with what Google’s got going on right now in terms of social media it’s nice to see two rivals at work.

The challenge presented to Facebook; embodied by Google+ was simple: Facebook sucks at privacy!

Facebook heard the call and decided to do a functional redesign that would “give the people what they want”, so to speak.

Because privacy as an ideal is extremely precarious, it’s no surprise that Facebook has been and is still, having trouble with it. The delicate balance between the personal and the universal is usually difficult to maintain. Now multiply this issue exponentially, because the ENTIRE point of social media is to SHARE!

How can one devise a system with internalized privacy when the purpose of the system itself is to broadcast information to others?

Well for starters a basic idea would be to sort those you are comfortable sharing with and those you aren’t into different chunks of online friends, or shall we call them “Circles”?

Facebook’s “Lists” is a certain adaptation of Google+’s “Circles” but both are steeped in issues of maintenance and confusion.

The main problem I’ve noticed though has been that in attempting to step up to the plate and handle the privacy situation Facebook has become both dangerous and annoying.

Dangerous

I’ll handle the dangerous first, as its often more exciting.

Facebook put a handful of its new features to the test with a recent beta version becoming available. A beta version of a program is the version usually released to a handful of users, who then become unpaid testers who are more than happy to find issues with the program.

For those of you who don’t know, when a company is developing software, there are various different stages of creation, before it becomes useable. One of the most crucial stage in this progression is the debugging portion, where developers take note of problems (known as bugs), in their program and proceed to remove them.

In a recent Fox News article titled “Facebook Reveals Who Doesn’t Want to Be Your Friend Anymore”, one of Facebook’s “bugs” became all too clear. With the addition of the timeline feature, “which shows any and all activity of a user in chronological order”, Facebook accidentally made it possible to see who removed you from their friend list.

Uh Oh!

Now people won’t only be insulted when they occasionally figure out themselves, that someone has unfriended them, but Facebook really made it a slap in the face by making this information readily available. Facebook promptly corrected the issue and I’m sure the team agrees with me on one thing:

Thank G-d for beta!

Annoying

Now, on to the annoying…

I really do enjoy Facebook and spend an ample amount of time on the site, wasting time. It just seems like every time they decide to do a site overhaul, it is met with a significant amount of backlash from users. People get very comfortable with the overall functionality that changing it is confusing and takes time to get used to.

This being said, NOTHING I’ve seen Facebook do is comparable to the poor design of its new right-hand, Chat feature!

Firstly, the design makes it overly difficult to scroll down the page without accidentally opening a chat to a friend.

Secondly, with the general flux of Facebook activity, it gets very annoying to see updates from others, every couple of seconds (when I’m not on Twitter).

And last, Facebook made the “Chat” overly complex by putting it directly under the status update feed and giving each a dedicated scroll bar.

We’d love to hear you weigh in on the new Facebook, so give us a shout out in the comments below.

 

 
  • Anonymous

    It’s certainly an interesting time for Facebook Renee as they are facing increasing competition from all sides.

    There is a lot of talk about privacy issues with the new changes but if people post information on a public platform then its going to be public. I think it is important to remember that, with the new changes, Facebook are only really reorganising information that is already there so if we have put off tightening up the privacy controls on our Facebook accounts then now would be a good time to do it.

  • http://shebytes.com Renee Schmidt

    Great point!

    People need to remember that once its on the Internet; in the public domain, its no longer private and all Facebook is doing is shifting around the data