OPINION – Why the Facebook app is going to lose friends and alienate people

With an app that tries to make your social networking experience convenient, it’s kind of funny that it finds it acceptable to reset things you’ve spent time customizing.

Full disclosure: I don’t like Facebook. I was at my happiest tech-wise when I deactivated my original account, and I’ll never forgive them for not lending me a helping hand when that account was hacked.

As for whether or not they’ll help you when you’re receiving abusive messages, based on my experience with them I can tell you the answer was no. However, I’ve held onto hope that Facebook might change its ways by maybe making the user experience a little more friendly: not autoplaying videos even after changing the settings to not do so, keeping people I want muted in my feed muted, or my favourite — not being asked to befriend someone on Facebook that I’ve blocked because I don’t want them to contact me through my account.

So you can imagine I was pretty annoyed when I saw Facebook had changed its app (again) for the umpteenth time earlier this month: at first I thought it was just an appearance thing.

But it wasn’t.

Later, I discovered a number of functions I’d never enabled (or had disabled on my own) were given the green light: the mic function, anything I’d asked it not to do in regards to gaming invites (no, I don’t want to play whatever Farmville-type game is popular right now) – and the like.

Facebook is also apparently enabling videos to play on your newsfeed with the audio on, even without your permission.

Here’s the thing: if Facebook is going to start overriding my permissions for basic things like autoplay, what’s next? Will it kill my entire app and user block list? Am I going to see things I didn’t want to see? Am I eventually not going to have a say in how I control my Facebook experience?

Well, we’re getting there.

I made the decision today to delete my app, and man does it feel good. Deleting the app doesn’t mean I’ve deleted Facebook (boy, I wish I could, but I unfortunately need it for work — the specifics of which I won’t go into here), it just means I’ll have to access it from a browser on a desktop computer or on my phone.

While the app has been cited as a bad performer recently for draining phone batteries too quickly  or not being up to snuff when it comes to third party app access, that’s not what I’m worried about. For me, it’s the lack of convenience and what appears to be a step in a direction that speaks largely to an eventual lack of choice by resetting options.

And it’s not enough to say, “well why don’t you just reset your lists, etc., again?” I don’t know about you, but I’ve yet to meet the person who enjoys having to go in and re-block people, apps, and functions just to ‘fix the problem.’ I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works.

It’s been fun, Facebook app, but in all honesty, you suck. Be gone!


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