Facebook’s Users Don’t Like Change

When Facebook updated its users’ homepages last week, we already wondered how users would react to these changes. After all, when Facebook introduced the news feed in 2006, its users were anything but happy about this change. Now, a new application is quickly spreading on Facebook that allows users to vote on the new design. This application is not endorsed by Facebook, but the current vote totals are quite interesting: 43,000 users liked the new layout, while almost 700,000 users said that they did not like it.

One of the most common complaints we have seen in the comments on both the official announcements from Facebook, as well as in the comments on the voting application, is that it looks too much like Twitter (and, in an apparent act of youthful rebellion, some Facebook users are now signing up for Twitter as a protest), though some users are also clearly simply unhappy with the change in general, and especially with the new system of filtering the real-time stream.

Here are some recent examples:

  • Lisa: If i wanted updates on everyones status while it was happening, I would join Twitter.
  • Judy: It stinks. Why mess with something if it’s already working?
  • Cassy: The new facebook is tooooo confusing and you cant find anything~!!! are you going to change it back???
  • Arie: Everytime I see the new layout a part of me dies on the inside.

We also created a word cloud with keywords from the most recent comments on the voting application, which clearly demonstrates the current sentiment about the real-time homepages among Facebook users.

When Facebook announced the change, it also added notifications about the impending update to the homepages on every user’s profile. Still, a large number of users were obviously taken by surprise when their beloved Facebook pages suddenly changed.

Users don’t like change, and as a product becomes more popular, users will grow ever more resistant to change. During the last major controversy around Facebook, when Facebook changed its Terms of Service, the company argued that it was quite aware that its users feel a sense of ownership over Facebook, so it will be interesting to see how Facebook will react to the current outcry.

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