Facebook sure isn't getting much love these days. As the social network continues to fight a multitude of security issues even its own loyal user base is turning against it with a quickly growing group called "I Hate the New Facebook" -- which now boasts near 600,000 members. Just over half a million voices represent a small percentage of the site's base but I imagine the noise level from this group will soon be hard for Facebook to ignore. The group lists 19 reasons why the new Facebook design is not lovable, many with which I agree.
According to the group admin, here are the growth rates:
- 5,000 Reached: August 14th, 2008
- 10,000 Reached: August 22nd, 2008
- 25,000 Reached: August 28th, 2008
- 50,000 Reached: August 30th, 2008
- 100,000 Reached: September 3rd, 2008
- 250,000 Reached: September 6th, 2008
- 500,000 Reached: September 7th, 2008
The growth spurt in the last few days is the biggest attention grabber -- especially since the group has gained another 85,000 users seemingly overnight. I'm wondering if this surge in protest is related to Facebook's message that says soon the new Facebook will be the only Facebook?
Facebook has been trying hard over the last few months to slowly convert it's feeds into a lifestream and the new design really puts a shine on that. Some bloggers have even said that these improvements could create a bit of a challenge for standalone microblogging platforms and lifestreams. But with so many users with ruffled feathers over the new design I think that keeps some of the incumbent mindshare safe for now.
While Facebook needn't race to change its design back due to these protests the social network's management should be listening to these folks, and according to some group members that hasn't happened yet. Potential advertisers could be paying heed and Facebook should be prepared to answer their questions. While Facebook's livelihood is in more danger due to its many security flaws versus these protests, there are users posting on the group's wall that they would choose deletion over the new design. Here's one:
"I'd rather delete my account than use the new facebook. if it ain't broke.. don't fix it!"
As an aside, I've been very open on Twitter (and my own Facebook status, for that matter) about being disenchanted with this new design. I find it slightly counterintuitive and am going to hold out and use the old Facebook as long as I can. Will the new design keep me from using Facebook overall? No. I still want to build my network. But it will keep me from visiting as often. It's helped to confirm to me FriendFeed will continue to be my lifestream of choice.
What about you?