Facebook vows 'improvements' after user backlash
Faced with a torrent of complaints over its latest redesign, the social networking hub Facebook has vowed a series of "improvements" to eliminate clutter and make the website more user friendly.
"Since we launched Facebook's home page design, we've received thousands of emails, Wall posts and comments from you along with direct feedback from all of our friends and family," product director Christopher Cox said in a blog post late Tuesday.
Cox pointed to several areas "where we're focusing on improvements immediately and over the next several weeks," after the site earlier this month introduced a busier, twitter-like feed on its popular networking site.
"We've heard feedback that there is a lot of application content appearing in the stream. We will be giving you tools to control and reduce application content that your friends share into your stream," Cox wrote.
Rather than reload the page in order to see new posts, Facebook will introduce "the ability to turn on auto updating in the near future so you no longer need to refresh the page," he said.
Photo tags, or notifications that pictures of a user's "friends" have been posted, will also be added to the stream of updates on the main page in the coming weeks, Cox said.
Improvements were also being made to a new "Highlights" section on the homepage so it will "update more frequently and will show you more content throughout the day to mirror more closely the content that the earlier news feed provided."
The social networking site has ballooned in popularity since it was begun in 2004, and now has an estimated 175 million users.
However, a series of revamps in recent months has left many users disgruntled and sparked a legion of anti-change groups on the site.
"Redesigns are generally hard to manage, in part because change is always hard and in part because we may miss improvements that any individual user may like to see," Cox admitted.
"With the recent home page changes, we're trying to present the right balance between what's happening right now and what's interesting over a longer period of time."
(c) 2009 AFP