I’ve been using and recommending Social Fixer for the past ten months or so. Social Fixer is an extension for Facebook, created and maintained by Matt Kruse. It lets you customize your Facebook experiences by changing layout and adding features.
Some of the most useful things have been organizing the newsfeed, disabling ads and sponsored posts and getting notifications when you are unfriended.
Now Facebook has ordered Social Fixer to disable these features, specifically:
- Friend Tracker
- News Feed Tabs
- News Feed Filters
- Blocking of ads, sponsored stories, etc.
Matt Kruse is not sabotaging Facebook. He is a fan, a power-user and someone who wants to make the experience better for everyone. In the midst of this conflict with Facebook, he describes Facebook’s employees as respectful and understanding, suggests ways of continuing a good dialogue with them and then encourages us to use Facebook to discuss this issue.
“I created Social Fixer because I want to use Facebook more efficiently! I’m not stealing their content, or trying to get people to switch to Google+, or bad-mouthing every move they make. I’m improving the experience for users.
By taking a stance of embracing the power user community, companies like Facebook could get a reputation of supporting and empowering users. Instead, every user I talk to now seems to think that Facebook is going downhill and increasingly making decisions that benefit their stock holders rather than their users.”
This, in combination with the various confusing changes over the years, and the general instability of the site, make me agree: Facebook is ruining the user experience. The combination of sorting posts in tags, having the option of filtering and not seeing sponsored stories really did give me more control over my newsfeed. Ever since Facebook updated the newsfeed by removing the option of seeing more or less of various kinds of stories, I had been spending less time on the front page of Facebook. I usually only went onto the site when I got an important notification via email. Social Fixer made me use my newsfeed more. It made me use Facebook the way Facebook wants me to use Facebook – but it didn’t make me see ads, so Facebook didn’t like it after all.
Should we just accept that this is the point of Facebook now?
Opting out of Facebook completely would not only be a long and complicated process, but it would make my life very difficult. I mainly use Facebook as a tool to interact with my fellow dancers, including my students. Through Facebook, I learn about dance events, market my own events, and exchange information with people with whom I have this hobby in common, without having to know their phone numbers or e-mail addresses. As one dance teacher put it “What did dance teachers do before Facebook?!?”
But even if I were not a dancer, Facebook is still very useful for sharing blog posts and starting debates (like the one about this blog post yesterday), for keeping in touch with friends and family far away, for getting invites to parties, for inviting people to parties, and for doing my PR job, which obviously involves Facebook.
So far, the benefits (just barely) outweigh the drawbacks. But stories like this prove to me that Facebook doesn’t care about me, and that I should do what I can to not depend on them. That means using email or phone calls more, avoiding signing up for other services through Facebook wherever possible (I trust Twitter a lot more), and spending less time on my newsfeed, in favor of Twitter and blogs.
Please read what Kruse has to say, and share this post and more importantly his post on Facebook.
Also, the cartoon above is by Tom Fishburne. I really like his cartoons about marketing and social media. Check them out!
Other posts about Facebook