Frustration expressed over Facebook

Tiffany Ciesicki


That’s how students all over the country felt after waking up to see the changes made to their beloved Facebook Tuesday morning.

Now, when students log on to their home page, they will see a list of the latest updates made by their Facebook friends.

As of 11:30 p.m. yesterday, morre than 700,000 people had joined Students Against Facebook News Feed (Official Petition to Facebook) – The largest Facebook group protesting the Web site’s two newest features: News Feed and Mini-Feed updates.

The number grows dramatically by the hour.

Ruchi Sanghvi, Facebook product manager for Feed, described News Feed as a way to see the latest happenings in students’ social circles.

Mini-Feed, Sanghvi explains, is a new part of users’ profiles that shows all of the latest things he or she has added on Facebook.

The list includes: new wall postings, picture comments and new friends and photo postings.

Students’ main source of frustration is that they are unhappy with the Facebook amendments and feel as if no one is listening to their complaints.

Sophomore advertising major Derek Reed is one student who disapproves of the changes. He said he liked Facebook the way it was before.

“(With the revisions), privacy was not something taken into consideration,” he said.

On Tuesday, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted an entry on the Web site’s blog titled, “Calm Down. Breathe. We Hear You.”

“We are listening to all your suggestions about how to improve the product; it’s brand new and still evolving,” he wrote.

“This is information people used to dig for on a daily basis, nicely reorganized and summarized so people can learn about the people they care about,” Zuckerburg said.

Students don’t appear to be consoled – one search of Facebook groups pertaining to the renovations produced 21 groups against the News Feed and 6 groups in support of it.

Freshman nursing major Tara Boggs said if students never go on Facebook, the feeds are a way to quickly find out what is going on.

However, Boggs said she doesn’t think this possible advantage outweighs the fact that News Feed and Mini-Feed features “are just weird.”

Junior sculpture major Caleb Mroczka has never been a big fan of Facebook and said he only joined so he could look up his roommate before they met.

“I actually hate Facebook,” Mroczka said. “I think it takes away from social interaction and hurts society as a culture.”

Mroczka said he is especially against the new updates because they “cater to stalkers.”

People throughout the country are now using Facebook to spread the word on taking action.

On Tuesday night the Web site, “A Day Without Facebook,” was created to propose a boycott for next Tuesday – a week after the feeds were added.

Billy Dunn, a graduate student at the University of Connecticut, created the site after seeing the strong response against the feeds and seeing that nothing has been done to change it.

After studying cases where students were brought before a judicial board because of photos posted on Facebook or were stalked, he said the feeds are furthering an invasion of privacy.

Fighting the feeds is a way for students to keep some privacy, Dunn said.

“Honestly, I would hope that people latch on to the idea,” he said. “If you go through the thousands of posts in the largest anti-feed group on Facebook, you’ll see so many people suggesting, ‘we should do something,’ or ‘we should boycott.'”

Wednesday morning, Kiyoshi Martinez, a graduate student at the University of Illinois, created with his friend Jeremy Pelzer. The site was made to get the word out beyond the Facebook social network.

“Jeremy and I have tied it to our petition drive,” Martinez said in an e-mail interview. “We’re also seeking media attention to the issue in hopes that we can generate enough press to make Facebook listen to its users who have come out in overwhelming numbers against ‘news’ and ‘mini feeds.'”

Although she is not necessarily against the feeds in general, Martinez said she is more concerned with the way they are being implemented on the Web site. She said there should be an option not to broadcast any of the information in the feeds.

“I realize that Facebook has been saying that this isn’t any new information being given to you,” she said. “But at the same time, it’s taking what might have gone unnoticed and blasts it with a bullhorn to everyone in your network.

“There is no great need to announce everything, and I think that is what a lot of people are finding frustrating.”

Contact news correspondent Tiffany Ciesicki at [email protected].