September 14, 2006

C.U. Students Upset at Facebook

Print More

The college phenomenon, Facebook, recently underwent a facelift. However, not all Facebook users are happy to see the new look.
The new features, News Feed and Mini-Feed, allow members to see all of their friends’ recent actions in one place. Hundreds of thousands of Facebook users protested, joining groups such as “Students against Facebook News Feed (Official Petition to Facebook).”
As of last night, there are over 700,000 members in the group, and there are other similar groups as well.
“I don’t like [News Feed] because I really don’t care what people are doing,” said Jill Weaver ’07. “I don’t care if someone’s in a new relationship or someone joined a group. It really doesn’t concern me.”
Other students, like Tiffany Jones ’09, are mainly concerned about protecting their own privacy.
“I think it’s being compromised. I really don’t want people to know who I added or how I change my profile from day to day. It’s really too much,” she said.
Jones and Weaver both admitted to using Facebook less ever since the News Feed feature emerged. Weaver said she has considered deleting her Facebook account, and will if Facebook doesn’t make some severe changes.
Steven Dilamani ’08 isn’t comfortable with the new features either, but he understands the motivation behind their development. He said companies like Facebook must always come up with innovative, new ideas, and they therefore run the risk of angering consumers. The new features on Facebook are an example of a company pushing things a little too far.
“Gossip is a big part of our culture,” he pointed out, noting that the News Feed helps contribute to gossip by making information more easily available. “I feel that it’s an interesting idea — it just didn’t sit well with me. I didn’t like how one action that I make can all of a sudden be shown to all my friends.”
Facebook users who like to keep tabs on their friends aren’t thrilled with the News Feed either.
Katie Legarreta ’08 admitted to checking Facebook several times a day. She said she uses it primarily for viewing other people’s profiles. News Feed, she said, “makes stalking too easy.”
“I joined the official petition against News Feed. I thought that it had so many members Mark Zuckerberg would notice it,” she said.
A few days after the release of News Feed, Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, posted an open letter on the website, addressing the massive amounts of negative feedback he had received.
He apologized for not building in News Feed-related privacy controls immediately.
“I’d like to correct those errors now,” he stated.
“[The privacy controls are] definitely a large improvement,” Legarreta said. “If there’s something out there you don’t want to be known, don’t put it on Facebook.”
Some students are still questioning whether the new privacy additions are enough.
Jones said that users cannot remove everything from News Feed. Actions such as adding pictures and groups cannot be blocked from appearing. She was also bothered by the fact that News Feed specifies exactly how you update your profile.
“A lot of people use Facebook because it has more privacy settings over MySpace and now it seems it has less,” Jones said. “Zuckerberg apologized, but I don’t think that’s good enough. He needs to get rid of the [News Feed].”
Weaver felt the News Feed settings were not adequate so she changed all of her privacy settings to make most of her information accessible only to her friends.
“I feel it’s a little bit better when I do that,” she said.