Facebook Redesign Revolt Grows to 1.7M

ByABC News
March 23, 2009, 11:30 AM

— -- Just as Facebook finishes rolling out its redesigned home page users are growing increasingly furious and frustrated that the "Old Facebook" layout is likely gone for good. To date 1.7 million Facebook users have joined the social networks user created group called "Petition Against the New Facebook." The group is pleading with the social network to "make small changes and make the transition easier to deal with."

Facebook has redesigned its layout (second time in under a year), in order to better compete with upcoming popular real-time microblogging services like Twitter. But with the transition to the new interface complete, Facebook has fallen under heavy criticism this weekend for not listening to the wishes of its users, who vehemently protested against the change to the new layout.

As of this writing, things look dismal for the minority of those people fighting against the recent Facebook facelift. One option for those who want to regain the old look is to use a third-party Firefox add-on that allows you to make your Facebook page look to you (not others) like the old layout.

Facebook Speaks Up

Facebook hasn't budged. And this weekend, it issued this statement regarding the brouhaha:

"The new Facebook home page is one step in the continued evolution of the site, designed to give people more ways to share and filter all types of content, such as status updates, photos, videos, notes and more. We are grateful to have 175 million people worldwide using Facebook to connect with the people and things they care about most, and we take their feedback very seriously. We are listening carefully to what people are saying about the new home page through a variety of channels - including through a popular application, built by outside developers on our platform, that allows users to vote and express their opinion. Also helpful have been the many comments we're reading on industry blogs, the Facebook company blog, Mark Zuckerberg's public profile, Facebook user groups, and through the link on the Facebook new home page tutorial. We encourage people to send us constructive, detailed feedback and are committed to using it to inform how we build and improve the site for everyone."

The Facebook One-Percenters

The "Petition Against the New Facebook" group now peaks at 1.7 million members, or one percent of the social network's 175 million users. Approaching the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude, the group has a target of two million members, claiming this is necessary for the petition to be effective.

Even Facebook's own new layout poll (pictured above), intuitively called "Vote on the new Facebook layout" shows how unpopular the recent redesign is with users. Out of over 1.2 million votes, only just over 75 thousand gave the new layout the thumbs up. But last time I checked, Facebook didn't really care.

Facebook introduced the now-obsolete layout in September 2008 and even then, when it had around 100 million users, more than 220,000 protested it. This time, indeed the numbers are higher, but the social network doesn't show any signs of intending to back off its decision to change.

And this leads me to the same conclusion I drew last year: as long as Facebook will remain free and all your friends are on it -- you'll have to stick with it, whether you like it or not. Besides, only with the new layout and features can the social network compete with the new kids on the block like Twitter.

Meanwhile, Facebook users have just a few days left to have their say on the social network's Terms of Service.

What's your view? Please let me know in the comments.