OH, NO! Facebook's Got More Unannounced Changes

Facebook has changed far more of the site than what it formally announced, adding to users’ unhappiness with the site.

These changes have occurred ahead of the f8 conference in an effort to make users more comfortable with them, like our sibling blog Inside Facebook astutely notes.

Instead, leaving changed features out of yesterday’s news feed announcement has resulted in confusion on Facebook.

Some of Facebook changes have gone live earlier than others, and there are a few live tests in the mix, but the unannounced features include:

  • Posts can now be as long as 5,000 characters, ten times the previous maximum length.
  • You can no longer accompany a friend request with a message.
  • Part or all of the navigation bar can remain on the screen even when you scroll down the page.
  • You can create bookmarks, labeled favorites, in the left-hand column.
  • Birthday reminders appear in the upper right side well-wishes now show up as notifications on the upper-right-hand corner of the screen, near where you see poke notifications.
  • Friend lists that existed before the new smart list prompts have an entirely new management interface.
  • The poke button has become a link tucked into a pull-down to the right of the add friend button.
  • A thumbnail image of the user, and his or her name, appears int the right corner of the top blue navigation bar; when one surfs the site using a page alias, the name and main image appears in the same place.

These are a lot of things for people to learn how to use, and unwillingness to do so drives the complaints on the site.

Either it will take longer for folks to become comfortable with the new layout and features, or… No, we’re not going to go there.

Media outlets looking to make their coverage more dramatic (“raise the stakes” is common advice among journalism professors) say these changes are driving people to switch to Google Plus, Facebook has 75 times more users and continues to benefit from the network effect.

Sure, a blog called AllFacebook.com would seem to have a vested interest in Facebook sticking around that might motivate a post to say that social network won’t die anytime soon. However, we are part of broader-themed network of blogs, including our siblings at Social Times, which covers Google Plus more than us and has yet to say the search giant’s social network has killed off Facebook.

So now it’s time for me to ask you, dear readers, will it take longer for the average Facebook user to become comfortable with the site’s changes, or will the social network have to allow the option to revert to the old version?

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