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Good Question: Why Does Facebook Keep Changing?

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(credit: CBS) Jason DeRusha
Jason DeRusha filed his first report for WCCO-TV on April Fool's D...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — From the first log-on in the morning to the last status update check at night, everyone seems to be complaining about Facebook.

“I got on here this a.m. and was like what the … I hate change!” wrote Rachel, one Facebook user, on her wall.

“Take this new one and shove it,” posted Larry Minton on his page. Many users have been freaking about a change to the way Facebook sets up user’s News Feeds.

The company said it’s trying to make the News Feed more important and useful. Instead of most recent stories at the top of the page, now you get Top Stories.

“I think ultimately it just shows how addicted we are to Facebook,” said John Nemo, a Public relations guy and social media consultant.

WCCO chatted using a web cam with a group of Facebook users, on a new social network, Google Plus. It’s a competitor to Facebook, quickly gaining 25 million users in three months of beta testing. Facebook claims 700 million users.

Facebook recently launched video chat, but it can’t handle a group of people, like Google Plus can.

“It’s almost like there’s a social media arms race, people are trying to one up each other and keep up,” said Nemo.

Most analysts said that’s why Facebook keeps changing. As the service has grown, users want new features. Competitors come up with other new features, and Facebook responds.

The new ticker shows real-time updates, similar to Twitter. The old news feed had a time lag.

“It’s free, so Facebook can do what it wants, but it sucks,” said Joey White.

He said that he wasn’t going to complain too much, but “at some point there’s a potential people are going to revolt.”

“Your data and the things you give the system to store and use is the currency, in that, the service is not free,” said Paul Saarinen, a digital marketing expert at Bolin Media in Minneapolis.

He pointed out that it’s reasonable to complain about the changes, because without our updates, our content, Facebook is nothing. It has nothing to sell to advertisers, which is the ultimate plan.

That fear of change, and lack of control, is why people get so mad about something as relatively minor as a website redesign.

“If you ask people to adopt something new, they’ll never adopt anything new, because people are scared of change,” said Connor McCall, a blogger and heavy social media user.

“We’re so used to Facebook, it’ll be hard to go to other networks, unless they “go Netflix” on it and anger everybody constantly,” said Nemo.

There are options to deal with Facebook’s changes.

If you are seeing people in your Top News section you don’t want to see, click on the blue triangle in the upper left hand corner. That should reduce that problem.

If you’re seeing updates from people you don’t want to see in the main news feed, click on the karat in the right side of the update. You can select whether you want to see all of their updates, most of their updates, or only the important updates. You can even unsubscribe from their updates, while still remaining “friends.”

According to Facebook, it picks top news stories by factoring in your relationship to the person who posted the story, how many comments and likes it has, the type of post it is, and the rest is a mystery.

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