Facebook users — young, tech-savvy and given to gnat-like attention spans — are supposed to relish change. But they love to carp about it.
Two years ago they complained about news feeds; last year they complained about Beacon. And now that Facebook has rolled out a new design, more of the same. The difference between this gripefest and the ones of the past? No one really cares this time around.
When Facebook introduced News Feeds way back in September 2006, 330,000 people had joined groups protesting the change within two days. Eventually, Facebook introduced some privacy options to try to appease its users. Last fall, when Facebook launched Beacon, its poorly executed marketing, some 50,000 people had signed a petition complaining about it within 10 days. Mark Zuckerberg eventually admitted he had screwed up, and gave users the ability to opt out.
Total number of people complaining about the redesign, three weeks after launch: About 38,000, by our count.
So is Facebook going to back down on this one, too? We don’t see it. Recall that in 2006, Facebook had a mere 9 million users. So the 300,000 that were complaining was a significant chunk. Last year, during the Beacon protests, the user base was up to 55 million — but in that case, Beacon had attracted the glare of the blogosphere, and, quite quickly the mainstream press.
Facebook now has some 90 million users. And only 38,000 of them are upset enough to join a Facebook group to express their displeasure? We consider that a roaring success.
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