Facebook gives and Facebook takes away, version 3.0.
The global behemoth of social media has introduced an automatic “couples” page that has triggered the same instant revulsion and joy of its past changes.
And 26-year-old Scottish developer Tom Waddington has taught the world how to see what Facebook isn’t letting them see anymore because of its new ranking algorithm that can block as much as 85 per cent of a news feed.
Facebook introduced the “couples” page last Thursday as “a new look for the Friendship page.”
If you and someone you are in a relationship with both list that by name on your status, Facebook has already created a page just for the two of you. To see it, go to http://www.facebook.com/us.
The page collects all of your joint tagged pictures, lists your mutual friends and tracks your shared posts.
“Makes me want to retch,” Emma Barnett, women’s editor of Britain’s DailyTelegraph, felt compelled to say.
“This is super lame. I am not a combined unit with my loved one,” wrote Liz Remp of Ann Arbor, Mich., on Facebook.
“If this signals an end to all the JohnDoe JaneDoe accounts, I’m all for it,” said Gabriel Crutchfield of Knoxville, Tenn.
A Facebook page popular in Hong Kong, Profiles for Couples, has been lobbying for this very “road to virtual unity” since 2009.
Couple page fan Tiffany McGee of Cedartown, Georgia joined the groundswell in 2010, explaining “It seems easier to me to have a page with my husband. . . his friends are my friends and vice versa! It would be nice just to have one page to edit :)”
As with other Facebook mandates, there is no opt out.
For the record, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife of six months, Priscilla Chan, do have a couples page.
Zuckerberg, who has 16 million subscribers to his Facebook page, could perhaps benefit from the thick filter the social networker has imposed on news feeds.
Edgerank, Facebook’s internal filter for its 1 billion users, weeds out posts by type, age and how much a user interacts with the person or brand, Facebook engineers reported in 2010.
Companies, even more than individuals, howled when Facebook increased the filter in September.
Social agency We Are Social discovered the reach of 15,380 of its page posts had dropped by an average of 50 per cent after the Edgerank changes.
Facebook tried to apologize: “We’re continuing to optimize News feed to show the posts that people are most likely to engage with, ensuring they see the most interesting stories. This aligns with our vision that all content should be as engaging as the posts you see from friends and family.”
Waddington reopened the Edgerank wound Monday when he revealed details on his website of a special link to circumvent the Facebook filter.
“Have you ever wondered which pages you like are posting content you haven’t seen?” said Waddington. His solution: https://www.facebook.com/?sk=nf_all.
A petition on Change.org urges Facebook to disable Edgerank.
“Facebook says it’s free and always will be but they’re limiting how many of your posts your friends will see,” the petition says.