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The new Facebook changes – does anyone “Like” them?

Facebook has rolled out another new set of changes, and like every other time the site tries something new, many users aren’t happy. So is it a case of the site’s users resisting innovation or are the changes simply that bad?

What changes has Facebook brought in?

The news feed has had a dramatic revamp, focusing more on what the site thinks you want to see, rather than posting stories in chronological order. To keep up with updates in real time, a News Ticker has been brought in at the right hand side of the screen which shows you exactly what your friends are up to in real time. Some smaller changes have also been brought in, including a longer character length for your status and a new management system for friends lists.

What do the users think?

Replies on Facebook’s official blog and various other websites show that people aren’t happy. Some find the News Ticker slightly stalkerish, others don’t like that they no longer have the option of choosing to have everything in chronological order and many people simply think that Facebook doesn’t listen to user feedback and forces new features which they haven’t asked for and don’t want.

However, do we have any right to be annoyed by the changes? If we don’t like the site, why don’t we simply leave? As my colleague Matt put it:

I’m appalled that the service that I neither pay for nor have any obligation to use has made some minor changes that mildly inconvenience me.

How does this affect business pages?

If, like Facebook claims on their blog, the new changes mean you see the things you’re most interested in first, how does it decide this? It so far seems to be based on who you interact with most, but there are some anomalies in the system. But could this have a detrimental effect on business pages?

I blogged a few weeks ago about Facebook being the best social media site for engagement with customers, but will the new news feed change this? For people who don’t log in very often, only top stories will be shown, so if you regularly read someone’s posts but maybe don’t comment or Like them, you might not see them.  This could affect brand pages, but with Facebook now trying to attract businesses to pay for their services this could make the site seem less business friendly and potentially discourage companies from spending with them.

But wait, there’s more coming…

Facebook has been cooking something up which according to Mashable will blow all the other sites out of the water. The f8 conference starts at 5.30pm UK time this evening, and tomorrow Jake will blog about what Facebook has revealed and if it really will stop Google+ in its tracks!

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