Editorial: Outrage over Facebook redesign poorly based

Since its launch in 2004, Facebook has become the premier social networking Web site, extending its reach from college students to professors, to high school students and anyone else who wished to have a profile.

It’s almost an addiction, a way of life for people to keep in contact with one another when cell phones and instant messaging just won’t cut it. And people take it seriously.

A person’s Facebook profile is a reflection of that person, a representation of the individual for the whole world to see if one chooses to do so.

Many Facebook users have gotten so used to the streamlined interface adopted in 2006 that any change to how the site functions would be completely unacceptable.

Now picture those individuals’ reactions to Facebook’s latest redesign. Adopted earlier this month, the “new Facebook” has changed the locations of links and applications and has added a new feel to each profile’s wall, or comments section.

Already, many Facebook users are up in arms, some threatening to boycott the Web site.

Groups have arisen out of the debacle demanding the Web site switch back to its previous interface; one group of more than 44,000 members reads, “They must not change Facebook whenever they want. It is ours!”

Sorry kids, but it isn’t. You see, no Facebook user has contributed enough money to even match the millions of dollars invested in the privately owned Web site by companies such as Microsoft or people like Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, who invested $60 million in the site in November 2007.

In fact, Facebook users provide almost no monetary support whatsoever, or at least not enough for CEO Mark Zuckerberg to even notice, giving users absolutely no financial stake in the company. So where do users get the idea that they have some stake in how the company operates?

Facebook provides a means of communication between individuals – and a form of entertainment through applications – that is completely free of charge.

No credit cards are required to join; just a valid e-mail address is all. And this is how users react when the company updates its Web site to stay on pace with technological and stylistic advances? Is it really that difficult to click a mouse in a different location? Is the new interface really that challenging?

The fact is, the users who join groups to “bring back old Facebook” are afraid of change and are unwilling to face the fact that nothing is concrete.

The same arguments were thrown out after Facebook’s 2006 redesign and were quickly forgotten.

The editorial is the majority opinion of The DEN editorial board. Reach the opinions editor at: [email protected].