Let’s Facebook stalk together!

April 16, 2009 — by Elizabeth Cheng and Kavya Nagarajan

Be careful what you post on Facebook because just about everyone who is your friend will see. The new layout guarantees it.

Last time Facebook decided to undergo a makeover, users whined and moaned about the changes. “Oh no, the applications are out of place!” they complained, “Whatever shall we do?” Then when they realized it was permanent, the whiners stopped and actually gave the layout a try. To their surprise, they came to like the new (now old) look because it actually eliminated clutter and created easier navigation.

To the Facebook moderators, the latest change may seem like a repeat of what happened last time. Some vocal protestors would create groups against the new layout and eventually, everything would settle down and users would come to embrace this version as they did the last. Too bad they forgot that the latest changes have turned Facebook into a stalker’s paradise, something that many users do not find appealing.

Facebook was already a minefield of privacy issues, but the recent makeover has only made things worse. The home feed now shows conversations between two friends and every single thing that’s on those friends’ minds. What that means is that every user is privy to the intimate tidbits of others’ conversations and random ramblings whether or not they’re interested.

The constant updates on the news feed are not only an invasion of privacy but also lead to constant refreshes of the home page and then users spend hours clicking the refresh button to read the latest piece of news. And maybe that’s the real reason behind the whole change: getting users to spend more time on Facebook. They’re certainly succeeding by making stalkers out of all of us.

Also, what happened to status updates? The “What’s on your mind?” box has replaced it and status updates are now designed to look exactly like wall posts. In other words, there really is no such thing as a status update anymore, because if you enter something into that box and click “share,” it looks as if you’ve just written on your own wall.

The reason several of us joined Facebook, and why it has gotten so popular over the past few years, is that people wanted to get away from the clutter and confusion of Myspace. Facebook was simple and easy to use. But now after all the changes the website has been through, it is becoming more and more like Myspace, and worse. It’s true that change can be good, but why change something that was working fine before?

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