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New Facebook version receives negative attention

October 2, 2008

Unless you have been hibernating under a big rock in the Pacific Ocean or have recently deleted your Facebook profile due to the of the lack of homework getting accomplished, you are already well aware of the recent disapproving attention the new facelift Facebook has received.

As of Sept. 10, the new version of Facebook became the one and only option for users, sparking negative Facebook groups, online petitions and media attention.

According to Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, the new change was needed to accommodate the growing and evolving site.

“In the last four years, we’ve built new products that help people share more, such as photos, videos, groups, events, wall posts, status updates and so on. As people share more, sometimes we need to change the site to accommodate how much information people are posting,” Zuckerberg said in his Facebook blog. Zuckerberg expresses to Facebook users that adapting to change takes time and it is difficult, but the new version was created to simplify all the applications and features on the site.

On July 21, the Facebook Profiles Preview site announced the launch of the new version of Facebook.  Users were given the option of changing to the new version and were encouraged to “get accustomed to it” and to express their overall reaction.

According to Zuckerberg, more than 40 million people tried the new version of Facebook and 30 million continued using it. This gave creators of Facebook more than enough proof to make the new version the only version. 

“I personally saw the option to change to the new style of Facebook, but I felt there was really not a need to switch. A drastic change for millions of users is a risk that just screams drama,” Kristi Kelly, a UW-River Falls senior, said.

On Sept. 10 when the new version became permanent, it left 60 percent of users still unfamiliar with the new Facebook, lighting a negative attention in news media, blog sites and Facebook groups, all fighting for the return of the old version.

“When I first saw the previews for the new layout, I knew I didn’t like it right away.  Even after I played around with it for a while I still didn’t like it,” Scott Sanders, sophomore of Austin Peay University located in Clarksville, Tenn., said via e-mail.

After the new version was introduced, Sanders created the Facebook group “Petition Against the ‘New Facebook.’” The group reached over a one million members in five days and currently sits at 1,648,474 members.

Sanders’ group, in particular, has received media attention from at least three national news sites about his rapidly increasing group.

“I have received much more attention than I had expected. It started out as dozens of messages and friend requests every day. Soon after, it moved on to small blog sites and then radio stations. Once the group reached the near million mark, I had spoken to Associated Press and BBC. At 1.5 million members, I spoke to someone doing a bit for iReport on CNN,” Sanders said.

According to BBC, more than 1 million Facebook users have joined an anti-new version group, promoting their disapproving feelings towards the recent change. 

Jaxon Gruber, a student from Newark Academy in Livingston, N.J., is the creator of, yet another Facebook group against the change. “The new Facebook is shit. 500,000 against the new Facebook!” currently has 5,902 members and is growing every day.

“I created the anti-new version Facebook group because I felt it might’ve had a fighting chance against the permanent publication and I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t alone in my beliefs. I just felt like the users of Facebook were already content with the old version,” Gruber said.

Along with Facebook users across the country expressing their pessimistic emotions by joining Facebook groups, UWRF senior Betsy Straub said she shares the same reaction.

“I just don’t get why the change was necessary. Facebook is popular because of the users, and if the users are not happy with something, that should be respected. I just feel like I am left with no options and that angers me,” Straub said.

As growing anger and dissatisfaction continues to be expressed and the goal to change is alarming, the overall progress to change is unknown.

“At most, I’d like to accomplish with this group is to convince Facebook to leave the option to revert back to the old layout,” Sanders said. “If that does not happen there are still some changes they could make to the new layout to make it a bit more appealing to more users.”

Zuckerberg responded to the reaction of the new version and assures users that their opinions are being heard and are respected.

“Facebook is a work in progress. We constantly try to improve things and we understand that our work isn’t perfect. We appreciate the thousands of you who have written in to give us feedback,” Zuckerberg said on the Facebook blog. “Even if you’re joining a group to express things you don’t like about the new design, you’re giving us important feedback and you’re sharing your voice, which is what Facebook is all about.”

The next step, if there is to be one, is indefinite. Zuckerberg has not made any recent comments about altering the new version and the angry Facebook users have not stepped down from their pedestal.

“I know that Facebook users like me are angry, but I truly do not see users getting rid of their profile because of the change,” Straub said. “It looks like we just might have lost this battle.”