Is Facebook Getting Less User-Friendly?

By: Chris Crum - August 20, 2012

Facebook is starting to do a lot more things to cater to businesses, but is it becoming less user-friendly in the process? Now that the company is public, it’s going to have to keep investors happy, and that means making money – hence all of the advertising-related changes we’re seeing. Last week, Facebook stock hit its lowest point so far, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apparently found to be quite painful. I wonder what additional monetization strategies are in store for Facebook’s future.

When Facebook released its first earnings report last month, it announced that it it has 955 million active users, with 552 of them using Facebook on a daily basis. Facebook’s great challenge will be to keep those numbers growing, rather than slipping, while also finding more ways to make money off of them. Hopefully, for users’ sake, they’ll be able to do it in ways that aren’t annoying.

Do you think Facebook is getting less user-friendly, or is it as good as ever? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Facebook is currently testing a feature that could turn off a lot of users – promoted posts in the News Feed from pages that you don’t “like” and that not even your friends “like”. If this moves beyond the testing phase, you’ll start seeing more ads in your News Feed, and for things that you quite possibly have no interest in or even a social connection to.

“Starting soon, we are beginning a very small test that will allow marketers to promote page posts to people beyond their fans in the news feed,” Facebook is quoted as saying.

A WebProNews reader commented on the story, “I am finding myself more an more annoyed with facebook lately. I barely ever use it anymore. This is just one more reason for me to never log in again.”

We recently reported on another promoted posts-related feature that had some users upset. This was a type of post that appears in the News Feed, and shows you when one or more of your friends “likes” a certain page, and shows a recent post from that page. Depending on the post, these friends may not always be pleased with the display.

At the time, ZDNet shared the perfect example:

Just because your friends “liked”, does not necessarily mean that they want to be used to help peddle lube.

Considering the recent Chick-fil-A controversy, it’s not hard to imagine people who may have enjoyed eating the restaurant’s sandwiches in the past and “liked” their Facebook page, only to have Facebook saying that they “like” it, while displaying a “recent post” that he or she politically disagrees with. Chick-fil-A, by the way, became one of the fastest-growing social brands on Facebook following that whole thing.

These are just a couple of examples of where we’re seeing Facebook seemingly putting business interests above users’.

Some users simply aren’t happy with the direction Facebook’s interface is going. The company is still in the process of getting the Timeline pushed out to all users, and as this continues, there is still a fair amount of bitter reaction to the major design changes. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of users who actually prefer the timeline, but some people just flat out don’t like it. It doesn’t really matter as far as Facebook is concerned, however. All users should have the Timeline by sometime this fall, the company recently told us.

Some users are just plain bored. A couple months ago, Reuters and Ipsos ran a poll finding that 34% of users (more than a third of respondents) find Facebook boring. These users are spending less time on Facebook than six months prior. Given that the poll itself is over two months old, I wonder how the numbers have trended in the meantime. According to Reuters’ these users complained that Facebook is either “boring,” “not relevant,” or “not useful”.

Luckily, third parties are continuing to find ways to keep a lot of Facebook users interested. It’s a good thing Facebook isn’t treating developers the way Twitter is. The Timeline, despite those who hate it, caters to this quite nicely. On the other hand, Facebook apps have always annoyed some users in one way or another. It wasn’t all that long ago when you could hardly get on the site without seeing a plethora of updates about what people were doing on Farmville.

Of course, when you have close to a billion active users, you’re never going to please everyone. There’s always someone longing for the days before Facebook even opened up beyond school campuses.

Do you think Facebook is moving in the right direction? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

View all posts by Chris Crum
  • Alisha Cunningham

    Facebook has become boring. I was a huge FB user. Last night, I deleted 20 friends/people I really don’t know. That was a first for me and it was an attempt to make the site work for me again.

    Here’s the thing though. FB won’t ever be awesome again because everyone’s annoying relatives are on it. I’m 34. In the last two years all my older relatives discovered FB, which means they have started dumb modern chain letters, post stupid quotes on ridiculous backgrounds, and basically comment on everything.

    For me, my response to this has been to curb my usage. I can’t really unfriend my mother-in-law, but man, I SO want to.

  • joe

    You would think it was bound to happen esp. with them going public.

  • Joey

    If you run a fan page things are getting expensive. The game surrounding the “like” button tells the story. Once upon a time you could make a user click “like” to read your page. Facebook did away with that and offered paid advertising as an alernative ($$). But that advertising was expensive and didn’t get you likes. People started paying for likes from outside vendors because it was cheaper. Now Facebook has developed software to stop that as a way to force users to pay for sub-par Ad results from Facebook again. Just check places like “ and you will see they are shut down. Facebook doesn’t believe is helping a fan page succeed. They only want to know how much you can pay them now. You can feel the desperation. Promoted posts had a suggested price of $20 before the IPO. Now the suggested buy is $75…

  • brett clulow

    timeline sucks big time leave the old style as an option

  • Fred

    Have just started to use facebook after years of people telling me to, it is a nightmare to create as you don’t realise the mountain of information that you are bombarded to give.
    Maybe my age but I find no logical sequencing in the setting up and a a bombardment of second and third tier friends trying to become your friend.
    The most insidious thing though is that my email spam for my facebook email address has doubled in a week following joining.
    I shall be not using it much now and will try and close it down “if I can”
    Thanks FACEBOOK but no thanks

  • LEE


  • Tommy Brown

    Facebook is not gamer friendly now that the new Timeline has been introduced. I only get on Facebook because I play Mafia Wars and that is all I do and I am a 3 year daily player too. I am a VIP player with a monthly fee and now Facebook wants me to pay thru them now and stop paying Zynga. I am not a happy camper. Facebook is going to lose me soon.

  • Lawrence

    The timeline is the worst idea that they have ever come up with. My son and all of his friends (18 to 25) have either stopped using Facebook or have deleted their pages altogether.

  • Joseph

    One answer, for dissatisfied FB members who still want their fix, is an alternative, where members rule and privacy is sacred, is The site is in test phase, and now adding mobile capability. It offers similar capabilities, without the commercials. Monetizing the site will not be done by exploiting members, commercial activity will not be permitted in the activity stream, and no timeline! The site is open to charter member sign ups, to help with the testing and development of the site.

    • Watching the Wheels

      Joseph, what makes you think that the new site isn’t going to eventually monetise? Advertising slots is what the vast majority are all about. Too much VC money gets pumped into geek built coding.

      You sound like venue sellers who extoll the virtues of each new venue created, to find out a few months down the road that all the crap from the old site has merely moved in with them.

      These site are non producing money drains that I beleive are also a factor in our tanking economy. There’s something inherantly inwholesome and voyeuristic that surrounds them. Get up from your desk or put down your phone and visit with your friends in REAL TIME and REAL LIFE!

      Being glued to computer screens is NOT a natural state for the social animal Homo Sapien.

  • Donna A Lombardo

    I hate the new timeline and so do a lot of other people.

  • Dan Herbert

    My FB friends used to post about what is going on in their life. Everything from boat rides, to concerts to holidays. Now I find the most active users are those who post “motivational” quotes constantly, or such things as “Share if you hate Cancer.” I do not understand the attraction to circulating chain letters.
    It has become worse than advertising. I think I will go back to Twitter where people are more likely to post about what they are doing.

  • Candi

    I really hate timeline, seriously, would an option to toggle between timeline view and ‘old’ view on your page and other people’s be that much to ask, that way everyone is happy.

  • Kate Lennon

    People told me I’d get used to timeline.
    I didn’t.
    I still hate it, and so do most fb users.
    I also hate motivational and inspirational quotes, which is what most posts seem to consist of now. And lame jokes. But I guess it isn’t facebook’s fault if people are brain dead and don’t have anything to say for themselves.
    But timeline. Sucks. Why are they forcing it on us when they know we don’t like it?

  • Stephen Crockett

    I hate the Timeline design. I reduced my time on Facebook by 90% since they forced that on me. It really annoys me with the way it cuts the ends off shared photos… especially those with text.

    It looks really ugly and is not user friendly. They are hurting the brand by forcing users into Timeline. I might go to another social media platform.

  • michael

    facebook sucks these days after being banned 30 days for posting some fine art photography. they should not sensor indiscriminately I posted the same image on 4 other people pages and they were not bane.
    I am a profession fine art photographer I will not use FB again for any kind of marketing and I will NEVER hit a LIKE button again Facebook

    I think people aer realizing that is a gross waste of time
    fools follow


  • RSmith

    Absolutely not, Yuk is killing his golden egg (fb)
    Everyone should have seen the writing on the wall with going public. Surely no one actually thought that the end user of fb would win.
    Follow the money. This has always been true and I am watching it happen again. Companies who advertise won’t waste their money unless they get business or a good Return On Investment.

    They can’t have two masters, advertisers and users. Wonder who will win this tug of war? Mmmmmm!

  • Bill

    Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end for facebook. As a social space it may have some reasonable qualities, but as a commercial entity it is simply a people tracking device. It is inherently evil to track people throughout their lives. Today’s young people will understand that when they are older, and the tales of lives ruined by internet tracking become more prevalent. Youth includes folly, and making all actions indelibly etched in the hands of commercial entity strangers has no redeeming consequence.

    There is always a group of low lifes’ looking to sell your life story for a few dollars. When you are 50, you won’t remember all the mistakes you made at 20, but the commercial opportunists will have it all in their databases. Let’s see how many marriages, careers, and lives are destroyed over time because corporate interests capitalize on the innocent folly of youth.

  • Chris

    I discovered google chrome has a remove facebook timeline app. Works wonderfully. However your own page will still look timeline to others who dont use the app. It is amazing that so many people dislike it and it’s still forced upon people. Yes I know it’s a free service, however that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have an opinion as a user, should it?

  • Peggy

    Honestly Facebook is out of hand. There is people threating others and I am to a point of looking elsewhere for a site with less DRAMA. This was a good site at one time but now they are letting kids under 18 on and that is wrong.

  • cmsbuffet

    The fun is over…

  • cmsbuffet

    The FB era is over…

  • eduardo novoa

    Some of my friends publish limitlessly, making it bore some to me to scroll down for minutes. I don’t want to block them cause I don’t want to be rude. Set limits.

  • Lian

    timeline sucks big time. I don’t like it at all.
    facebook should leave the old style as an option.


    Once the bean counters get hold of any business, making money becomes more important that fun, social responsibility, or people. It’s not every business, but more often than not when profits becomes more important than people, people lose.

  • Teri Morin

    Facebook, in my opinion, is indeed failing its users’ needs more and more. I too have complained about undoing “Timeline”. When I complained, I saw posts requesting (demanding?) the same thing that were dated quite a while ago. Can it really be that hard for the developers to “fix” this problem that it takes so long? For that matter, can’t facebook at least not acknowledge that they’ve heard us and are working on the problem?
    If they’re not catering to the users’ needs, that’s a sure fire way to lose users! It’s just plain, common sense!!
    If they lose customers, it’s near impossible to get them (us) to come back! Again, common sense.
    Facebook is indeed getting more and more frustrating, I agree wholeheartedly!!!

  • AlanD

    Facebook is in the process of killing itself off.

    Very soon someone will come up with an alternative that looks and feels like the old Facebook that the majority of users clearly preferred.

    It won’t take long for this alternative to take Facebook’s place in the social media hierarchy.

    No one wants to stay with a Facebook that ignores its users.
    No one wants to invest in a Facebook that is going down the toilet.

  • Server guy

    I admit there are several changes that could be made to better timeline, though I am not really against it.

    Facebook should not ignore their users, and my one fear is that they will continue to get more corporate, like Google. All it would take for Facebook (or Google) to be better is to show that they are not just a corporate giant. There are plenty of ways they could do this.

  • Artnip Dementia Signange for the Home

    Only 30% of FB’s users are in the U.S. I think FB needs to find more friends. The business or marketing issue with FB is that no one has found a solid way to turn Likes into Sales. It’s just an ad platform akin to a Traffic Exchange. No one’s buying anything.

    Most FB visitors are probably not “unique” as defines by Google or Alexa. So why is FB’s Google ranking so high? Must be all the backlinks – which should tell you a bit about how Google’s algorythm weights site attributes.

  • Tom Mulhall

    I was so shocked that any individual bought Facebook stock as they have no customer service. Zuckerberg forgets that without his users, he has no product to sell.

    In my business (as I’m sure in others) I have competitors who play dirty tricks on us marking posts as spam, etc. I have had my account frozen from even answering messages in the past because they say they’re spam. And of course there is no one at FB that I can e-mail or talk with.

    If google+ was a better site, I’m sure people would abandon FB in a heartbeat as there is no loyalty.

  • Dave

    I, too, have grown tired of FB and only check in a couple of days a week now. It’s time as a fad is waning and I’m glad to see it go. It’s great to see other individuals on here who feel the same way.

  • Forrest W

    I have 2 cousins in australia and I live in your ass that’s the only reason I have facebook. Everyone else I can still pick up telephone and call!

    • Forrest W

      Oooopss! I apologize I meant to say, I live in the united states…

  • Cap’n Cyberzone

    FaceBook is getting desparate.
    Since it’s now a ‘public entity’ it must produce returns for its’ shareholders and right now it’s not and it’s value is spiraling downward.
    This leads to desparate acts to secure money making formulas which changes its’ initial priority from the users to the stockholders.
    Guess who loses out?

  • Forrest W

    The only reason I use facebook is because I have 2 cousins that live in Australia; and I live in the United States.
    The rest of my friends I can pick up the telephone and call!

  • mydogspal

    Hate Timeline–don’t have easy reference to comments I’ve made on other people’s posts the way I used to. I’m waiting for the next new thing that has better format and usability. I wish I could code to create it myself.

  • Jo R.

    Well, as Facebook changes, I’m using it less and less. I’ve been on for many years now. While I may have it open when I am at my PC, I’m not actually paying any attention to it. I use it strictly to have the odd chat, some messages, almost no games now that it has become too much of a mission, and very little else.

    So while Facebook over estimated it’s users, it has even more grossly over estimated how many of us even look at the adverts or activly look at anything else.

    Perhaps as the stocks reach all time lows they might actually start treating it’s users with a little more respect.

    We are not cattle!

  • Jim

    I don’t use Facebook much anymore because it IS so user-unfriendly. The timeline feature has really become more irritating to me–it is something I cannot control. That makes for my personal discomfort. I hope that the committee that decided the timeline feature is in good thing is in hell today.

  • Michael

    I don’t like that they changed the message feature. I feel as if my message is sent to all friends. Not as personal.

  • Become a minister online

    Facebook used to have some annoying aspects to it, but it was free, and provided a unique social experience, so it was tolerable. Now that have people “hooked”, the user has become a commodity to be exploited. People are reluctant to close their Facebook account, because they don’t want to be “out of the loop” with their friends and family. Worse, when they finally do get so sick of it that they decide to close the account, they find that it is not easy to do!

    Many people have reported being “unable” to close their account at all. The Facebook server will tell them it is “too busy” to process their request at the moment, to try again later. When one of the many apps are utilized or accessed that may have installed on various devices, largely without any real warning, it tells Facebook to disregard the cancellation request.

    This type of tactic, in conjunction with the abrupt policy changes that have impacted user privacy setting, will ultimately be the demise of Facebook. It is ripe for someone to come along with a fresh approach that will quickly knock them off their perch. Let’s just hope it is not another mega-corporation bent on world domination.

  • Frank

    What? Facebook was user friendly at one time, when was this?

  • Dee

    no I don’t and I for one absolutely HATE he timeline….why they had to cram that stupid overhaul down our throats is beyond me….and I HATE posts about my friends likes/dislikes — don’t have time for it. Also, even though I locked [only me] my photos [since I sell my photographs I don’t want people downloading] FB still shows my pix and I have to keep deleting them from viewing. I tried deleting pages that I created awhile back and that are no longer viable – you can’t delete anything from FB!!! I am getting off of it.

    • Runnergirl

      I KNOW!!!! I can’t delete anything either, and I can’t find the place to send a personal message.

  • Kevin

    Since this platform makes money from advertising and data collection its would only natural for it to change to suit business.

    It seams you can only make so much of personal data

  • Charlie

    Yeah, I think Facebook will have to do some fancy restructuring pretty soon, because they are not only pushing away some users who detest things like the Timeline or more advertising (etc.), but there’s also the very real issues we keep hearing about in the news. Things like employers checking out potential employees’ Facebook profiles and other things at the site in an effort to better know who they’re dealing with. Then there’s always the threats of new legislation coming out that may further cut into Facebook profits (don’t ‘regulations’ always mean less profits for those who must follow them?).

    Anyway, I do think Facebook will ultimately survive…as long as it is allowed to be free with how it operates and seeks user (and investor, too, of course) input and ideas for how to make it better, y’know? I’m just sayin’…

  • Rob

    Just want to add that I too absolutely HATE Timeline, and it has discouraged me from using FB as often as I used to. I’m definitely now one of those people who don’t go to it every day.

  • Julie

    Timeline and even the chatbox problems, poor web server is slow and infecting millions of computers as well even on certain games of there. I’m ready to delete my account cause of how worse it’s gotten.

  • David Kinlay

    Its become so tedious using Facebook lately, especially if you got to access your account via the android application. If only they could make their servers more optimal

  • Katie

    If Facebook can make it choice, i mean you can use timeline or old theme then it will be better i hope.

  • waqas

    facebook is no more user friendly
    before this i can earn from the facebook by simply putting my post on it
    now it is not happening
    think if it doesnot happens how n why i go to facebook
    this is how facebook will loose his visitors
    i am a common person earns only 200-300 USD from those activities n find their are many many people like me who uses facbook

    in my opinion facebook must have to change policies as it was in previous days

    the timeline is the worst thing for all kind of people like me

  • Banatu

    I’ve never had a personal FB page, but I do find myself forced to go there occasionally when looking for info about businesses and such. From that perspective, I utterly detest timeline. It used to be easy to find what I needed, but now with timeline it’s always an annoying ordeal. Lately I click on FB results only as a last resort.

  • Wallee

    Timeline don’t bother me. What bugs me the most about FB is that no more than 16 to 20 percent of the people I’m friends with get to see my posts. Due to what FB calls EdgeRank, that’s how it is, folks.

    FB is becoming more and more of a pain. If only I could get all my friends over to Google+. There, everyone in any particular circle – even if its 100 – will get your message.

  • Bob Rodriguez

    I know it is getting less user friendly. I dropped out of FB for about a year. When I got back I noticed that I couldn’t find the link that allowed me to send a personal message. I’m sure it’s still there but FB probably found that it isn’t making money for them when people keep things private!

  • Marcia

    Facebook´s apps are abusive! so annoying all that people sending invites.

  • Ross

    Facebook will be old hat within 3 yrs, the reason for it’s popularity was that it was user friendly. Facebook has abused that user friendly base, gone public, made a load of money and now does not have a product that it’s users want. End result, the start of the demise of Facebook.

  • terry Houghland

    If a person uses facebook to touch base with people they know why would they want to read advertisements? Facebook thinks it is a big yellow pages with people comments thrown in.

  • Dan Kauffman

    The Sample FB posts above echo my sentiments exactly I HATE that new Timeline and find myself going to my FB page a whole lot less frequently since they shafted me with it

  • jk ungar

    I hate all the advertisements. And when people “like” stuff there are more ads. This is ridiculous, and I will certainly never “like” anything again.

  • Taylor Mitchell

    Nice one Thanks for sharing!

  • Sue

    YES!! the new timeline sucks and I don’t want it. not sure how to prevent that.

  • mohammad

    Content was very interesting

  • Mark D

    When the customer is not happy they will leave. It`s a good ideas to keep the customers happy and not screw with things just for the purpose of making more money to appease the stockholders. Please the customers first or you run the risk that they`ll leave and not come back. I for one do not want to see ads in my timeline.

  • Anonomys

    I made my kids close their account and mine is coming down also. The privacy issues stink, email isn’t quite so bad but fb is ridiculous. With all the new laws in place fb is a stalker haven and to monitor folks chat is just taking away another privacy and should only be done when a complaint from the client is made. Also, I was changed to “timeline” we all know why time line was invented, we’re not stupid. They can go gather their “data” to “profile” someone else but they can just leave my family out of it.

  • Anonomys

    In my opinion since we’ve completely lost any right to privacy what so ever over the net, the only two folks that will benefit from facebook is Facebook’s Advertising Dept, Law Enforcement the I R S and the Fed. Govt.

    It is a total and complete pry into your every moment of your life that you are willing to put out there. Nothing is private, Nothing is ever deleted really. It’s just a way to completely profile you down to your thoughts, likes, dislikes, comments.

    Scares the shit out of me. What, is Minority Report next?

    I’ve read folks posts here, and I agree. Eventually it will shut down, and then the gov’t will have years of automatic profiling on you all thanks to you the unsuspecting customer, just thinking you have a comfortable place to mingle with your family and friends and speak your real mind. Oh, you can’t do that on fb anymore, you may wind up in jail either now for what you are saying … or in the future when the new Provo UT facility opens that will read any and every facet of your life that’s touched an electronic keyboard and graced the net. That’s right folks! O’s in control all the way, since your freedom is now gone, just sit back and wait for your next set of instructions, follow them nicely or be put away.

    As he said on TV at the DNC, He’s going “Forward” and it won’t be “Easy”. Learn to listen. That’s what it’s all about. Listening and responding in the right manner.

    Ahhh, go back to sleep folks, it’ll all be over with soon.

  • http://yahoo john reynolds

    facebook is so user unfriendly it is unusably. i don’t even bother trying anymore. bring back the original format and conditions or it will disappear into the abyss