Facebook has confounded users again with significant changes to profile pages, which has set off a spate of complaints on the social networking site.
Facebook’s help discussions have been flooded with criticism. “Hate, hate, hate the new Facebook,” posters railed.
Not since the re-do of 2009 have users been taken by surprise by such an eye-popping redesign.
A real-time news ticker similar to a Twitter feed has been added to the right panel, including the most recent posts from friends.
A "Top News" section has taken over the upper portion of the page, with automatically selected posts that Facebook has determined to be of most interest to you. Most-recent posts are pushed farther down the page.
The top navigation bar now "floats" along as users scroll down the page. New photos appear much larger in updates.
And there’s more to come. Facebook will host a conference Thursday at its headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., where additional changes are expected to be announced. For instance, a new media platform originally intended to let users stream music directly has been dialed back, according to an AllThingsDigital report. Streaming music will run through an integration with third-party services such as Spotify, whose chief executive officer is scheduled to speak at the event.
Facebook is also expected to reveal partnerships with big-time news services including the Washington Post and CNN. Newspaper-like stories could be added to the "Top News" section, but the details are not known at this time.
In the past, Facebook has not allowed users to switch back to an old design once they upgraded to the new one. A handful of users found a workaround for changes made in December 2010: Deactivating accounts for no longer than 30 minutes and then reactivating them resulted in the old layout. Facebook closed that loophole within days.
This time, users were not given the option to upgrade to the new format; they simply woke up this morning to the new look. But some clever Facebookers came up with a workaround, using "Lists":
"Create a custom list and name it 'Most Recent.' Add all of your friends to it. Once created, this list will look and behave exactly like your old news feed,” Thomas Sobiech wrote.
Once this customized list is created, each new friend will have to be added to it. Users can manage the content displayed under “Manage Lists” and then “Choose Update Types” to hide certain types of posts, such as game updates. Users with fewer friends will find the workaround much easier to implement than those with thousands of friends.
No workarounds have surfaced for the ticker, the floating navigation bar or photos. Those are changes that users will have to put up with unless they quit Facebook altogether, an option Sobiech and others say they are considering.
"I have a Google+ account on standby, just in case," Sobiech said.