I stumbled across this introductory video for Facebook's news feed redesign on Fast Co.Design and something rubbed me the wrong way about it. Check it out for yourself.
Sure it's nicely done and it succinctly showcases the new design and how it'll benefit users, but something is missing. One quick glance at my own newsfeed reminded me what it was: the ads. The news feed in the video and in all of the promo materials I could find (doing a quick search online) had no advertisements in them. This is the first sentence you hear in the video:
So when we talk to people about how we can make their news feed better, one of the things that we heard over and over again was “My news feed is cluttered.“ […]
Yes, it is cluttered; with ads. This is the part that has been conveniently left out. A quick check of my own news feed revealed that four out of twenty entries were straightforward ads. I'm not even counting the ‘person xyz likes this company’ entries or sponsored posts.
I'm not complaining that there are ads on Facebook, after all Facebook is no charity and it's offering a service used by millions for the price of having our data sold to third parties so they can attempt to show us tailored ads.
What leaves a bitter aftertaste in my mouth is the way Facebook is sugarcoating these changes by omitting one of the most essential parts of the user experience. In the end ‘uncluttering’ the user's news feed from potentially irrelevant entries by your friends, will also mean that Facebook is going to have an easier time delivering ads in that same news feed that we users will have a harder time ignoring (or telling apart from actual entries by our friends).
The news feed redesign has received well-deserved praise from smart people and I have to concur, it looks great and might solve a couple of basic problems the current iteration suffers from, but not showing one of the main aspects of the Facebook experience is disingenuous to say the least.