Back in February 2004, Facebook was launched as an online platform to facilitate communication between college students. Gradually the service opened up to more colleges, more students and finally anyone over the age of 13.
Facebook has now evolved into the single-most popular social networking service on the web. There are currently more than 500 million active users of the service, uploading photos, playing games and letting their network of friends know exactly what they’re up to with.
Despite being so useful at times, Facebook also suffers from its own breed of drawbacks. Here’s my own personal list of Facebook frustrations.
I can’t talk to anyone from Facebook itself
For a company that employs more than 1,700 people worldwide and stores more than half a billion users’ data on its servers, it seems somewhat wrong that you can’t get an answer to a question from a human being.
The Facebook help page is an endless loop of pre-approved answers designed to walk you through the most basic and self-explanatory features offered by the website. You can report a group for suspected breaches of the terms of agreement, you can request to have your intellectual property removed but you can’t shoot them an email if the help topics don’t quite cut the virtual mustard.
The company’s revenue exceeded $800 million in 2009, so hiring a few more staff probably wouldn’t break the bank.
Privacy or anti-privacy?
It’s probably been a while since you made your Facebook account, but by default all new users status updates, photos and posted items are viewable by everyone. As for photos you’ve been tagged in, well, they’re available to your friends and oddly enough, friends-of-friends.
These are Facebook’s default and “recommended” settings for new accounts. Many others have yet to update their privacy settings, and everything is viewable to literally anyone.
Personally, I think you’re mad if you leave anything viewable to “anyone” – would you simply invite a stranger into your home for a cup of tea and a good look through your photo albums? How about standing in the city centre confessing that you’re off to Majorca for two weeks, so feel free to drop by and rob the TV?
Facebook has received a lot of stick for its broken privacy settings, and as far as I’m concerned until you intervene and restrict what can be seen they’re still very broken indeed.
OMG I LIKE THIS on ILIKETHINGS
Recently (along with the usual self-involved horse manure that clogs my feed) I’ve noticed a lot of Facebook friends jumping on the “Like“ bandwagon. There are in fact whole websites established simply to propagate mass opinion, senseless sheepism and spelling errors.
I’ll give you a couple of examples. Currently:
- Over 32,000 people aren’t worth phoning:
- More than 27,000 people have sociopathic best friends:
- In excess of 121,000 people have no excuse for not doing their homework:
Maybe I’m missing the point, but some of these people are my age. There’s a whole internet out there, look beyond the blue box!
You won’t believe this MAD photo LOLS! Click Like!
Each week, I see more and more of my friends fall foul to the “you must like X to see X” Facebook pages established simply to get… well, I’m not sure. Many of these are surely there simply to fill your news feed with crap but others probably just get a kick out of a couple of thousand Likes.
Is this really what Facebook was created for? To see the world’s first Wal-Mart and badly Photoshopped pictures of George W. Bush eating a live kitten?
Don’t forget – when you like something you’re then added to that item’s “Like list”, the item is posted to your personal wall and you’re promoting the item to everyone in the main feed. It’s also worth mentioning that a quick Google Image Search or a visit to Trendhunter will probably provide you with the “crazy” picture advertised.
FarmVille et al.
Did you know that more than 62 million people regularly play FarmVille? That’s around ten percent of the entire Facebook population.
That’s great, but why must I be constantly invited to join them? Not only do I have more interesting/important/enjoyable things to do with the internet but I also spend time away from my PC too.
I’m sorry, I’m being unfair. It’s not only FarmVille that should be singled out. A few others I’ve noticed rudely and incessantly demanding my attention include: Kingdom of Camelot, Backyard Monsters, CafÃ© World, some virtual fish thing, Sim Abbatoir and STD eClinic.
I made those last two up, but you get the picture. Luckily when they pop up in your news feed, you can hover over them, click the cross and choose to never hear from them (the application, or maybe even the person) again. It just gets a little tiring week after week, app after app…
Do you remember the days before your family joined Facebook? Getting tagged in an album called “Night of a hundred beers” complete with photographic evidence of your previous night’s engagement with the toilet weren’t so bad.
Well not any more! Now your grandparents can see just where your student loan is going.
There’s also fraping, the act of having your Facebook hijacked so your so-called friends can post what is usually a fairy graphic and descriptive untruth about yourself. Your friends will understand, but what if grandma spots the update?
I’m not against the older generations joining Facebook, I might add. I’m just wary of the consequences.
Of course I’ll continue using it, for a while at least. I’m sure the rest of you will too – but there’s a handful of other open source alternatives to try out plus with Diaspora just round the corner things are likely to get interesting. Clearly the guys in Palo Alto are doing something right, and the service is still a valuable tool. In fact, go ahead and click that little share button below…
What are your least favourite aspects to the internet’s favourite waste of time? Have I got it wrong? Anything that rings true? Have your say in the comments!