Dear Facebook – WTF?

facebook issuesI wish I could say it’s with great difficulty I write this letter, but it’s not. As a matter of fact, what follows is purely stream-of-consciousness frustration that’s putting on a blog suit and gloves. Complete with two middle fingers.

I love my Redhead Writing Facebook Comunity Page. My fans do, too. My fans and readers can always get ahold of me: Twitter, contact form on my website, Facebook message, carrier pigeon…But what I simply can’t fathom is how you have 400 million users to-date and lack a CONTACT US tab on your site. How is it that you’ve grown into the social networking behemoth you have without one iota of consideration for those who actively use your site and need help doing so?

Your customer service is apathetic if not entirely absent, yet you profess to know what your users want every goddamn time you change your UI. But I understand – you’re BIG. B-I-G. Being BIG apparently grants you a level of untouchability accompanied by a lack of accountability to your users. If we don’t like it, we can go to MySpace, right? Or Google Buzz. Let’s sit down and dish in this pretend letter of mine that I doubt anyone from your business team will ever read. After all, you’re too busy to respond to user-generated questions on:

How to transfer ownership of a Facebook Fan Page (because businesses NEVER change ownership in Facebookland)

How to remove a permanent “admin” on a Facebook Fan Page (another 8 pages of unanswered user questions)

Changing the name of your Facebook Fan Page (whoa – 163 unanswered posts)

I’m going to give you a lesson in Customer Service, Redhead-Style. Sit down, stop changing your UI for a minute and listen to what we have to say (since you don’t even do that on your own site in the forums).

Your User Interface Sucks, the Concept of Service and Budgets

Frankly, as someone who deals with UIs as a large component of her day-to-day, you suck. Suck, suck, suck. If you sucked any more, you’d be on the street corner in the shady part of town, doling out hummers for $10. In the past year, I’ve logged in no fewer than three times and found all my schizzle in a hizzle. There is not other successful business that keeps dicking with its UI to the extent that you do and no one’s amused. We have no choice but to accept what you lay down (especially since you don’t listen to any of your users or have a Customer Service department to take complaints or help resolve important issues. Here’s a quote I find amusing:

“Thanks again for making Facebook a part of your life. Happy sixth birthday to Facebook and our whole community. We look forward to building more things and continuing to serve you for many more years to come.” – Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook to the UK Telegraph

Really, Mark? How is it possible for you to “continue to serve” when you haven’t even begun? Your users speak on your very own Facebook Forums and you don’t reply. There’s no Contact Us page (like any other website on the planet…even plumbers have a Contact Us page with a phone number…so do Adult Novelty Stores – OMG they have a PHONE NUMBER, TOO…so does Twitter). And here’s the mind-boggling spaghetti that is your “Help Center.” It’s like one of those outsourced-to India automated phone systems where I’m always told “0” is an invalid entry.

Speaking to a human, being serviced by a human…it would be a novel concept on this site designed to connect human beings. How you’re above it all is beyond me. I’m wondering if somewhere you’ve teamed up with AT&T on masterminding the Shitty Customer Service Model – I own an iPhone and would throw it out the window if I weren’t so in love with the damned thing. AT&T’s customer service is maddening and I’ve never paid so dearly for such a high level of frustration. While I get the frustration for free with Facebook, I’d think that you could find $1.25 million in your estimated $550 million in revenue to hire 50 customer service reps at a whopping $25k per year to handle some customer service emails and calls. Customer service has been called an unaffordable budget cut in today’s economy, yet somehow Facebook lacks it entirely. Kudos for being ahead of the curve on saving money, but you’re saving it in the wrong place.

Maybe stop fucking around with your UI and save the money on design and coding. Just an idea. Reallocate those funds to serving those who promote you, use you and need help in maximizing their use of the services you provide.

Stop Acting Like Frat Boys

We get it – you started Facebook as a roommate thing and are oh-so-proud of where it’s gone and excited about where it can go. We are, too. But you need to stop acting like frat boys looking to nail the Google sorority girl. Your users and their content are what make you so attractive for partnerships. If you keep pissing us off, we’re going to gradually go away. We left MySpace, we shirked Plurk. We’ll do an about-face on Facebook as well. Start remembering who brought the beer and hot wings to your kegger and quit looking at Google’s tits long enough to communicate with those who got you where you are. We’re telling you what we need and what we want. All you have to do it engage. It IS “social” networking, right?

Enough With the Ad Whoring

It’s great that your ad network is a cost-effective means for businesses and individuals to promote services, causes and brand awareness. But I don’t want to see Jennifer Aniston’s unauthorized picture whoring some weight loss program or scam ads for “debt relief” services. I’m in Facebook to connect with people. People do business with people. How about some QA for these crap ads we’ve seen as of late and screw the user rating feature for ads. YOU are the network. Start taking control of your content. I could always hook you up with Focus on the Family and Tim Tebow if you want to learn more about bait-and-switch marketing tactics, y’know.

…and that’s all I’ve got for now, dear Facebook, but I’m sure my readers have more. We’ll see what they have to say about your shenanigans as I know the problems and views expressed above aren’t exclusively mine. I may be an outspoken redhead ranting out of Denver, Colorado, but I have clients who rely on me for answers about Facebook and you…make it difficult to say anything other than, “Well, that’s just the way it is. Facebook said so.”

And THAT is a crappy answer to have to give with the obligatory shrug.

65 comments
God Bless Our Hobbit Feet
God Bless Our Hobbit Feet

I have a nice cautionary tale to add to this that will perhaps show Facebook what becomes of those who take the "I'm too awesome to ever become a loser attitude." I used to work at an AOL call center back when it was the only internet anybody knew. Some of the folks I worked with started thinking their fecal matter didn't stink and I actually heard another rep telling someone, "Fine, leave AOL. Where else are you going to go?" Fast forward about ten years later to kids asking their parents what AOL is... Yeah, that's right, AOL. You're the 8-tracks of the internet.

Zetathompson
Zetathompson

No use commenting. Here I a am preaching to the choir and it is not like facebook ever reads or looks at anything on their site much less off it

tall_geek
tall_geek

The biggest? in terms of users maybe, revenue? Not even close. Google is way bigger and way more profitable. It took FB 5+ years to reach profitability.Their UI sucks ass, I was fortunate enough to have create a separate user acccount for our business which owns our fan page. So when we sell the business, the new owner can have the page/account too.

tall_geek
tall_geek

The biggest? in terms of users maybe, revenue? Not even close. Google is way bigger and way more profitable. It took FB 5+ years to reach profitability.Their UI sucks ass, I was fortunate enough to have create a separate user acccount for our business which owns our fan page. So when we sell the business, the new owner can have the page/account too.

Lance Puig
Lance Puig

I stopped using my FB for a while now.. suddenly I remember why. Cheers to you redhead!

Lance
Lance

I stopped using my FB for a while now.. suddenly I remember why. Cheers to you redhead!

Bryan Pollard
Bryan Pollard

Well stated... Although, I don't understand the Focus on the Family and Tim Tebow references...

Loretta Oliver
Loretta Oliver

I can't think of anything else to add to what you listed here, so I'll just applaud!

The Redhead
The Redhead

Oh man - what has Shelly started here? Are we going to have a sex tap come out later this year?Me? I'm gonna click your link and check out what you had to say. Thanks for sharing and stopping by :)

SEOcopy
SEOcopy

Shelly and Erica - You are both my favorite women on the social feed of my life in Twitter and Facebook. Since I no longer use Disqus (sucks the big one), I will have to settle for a peek here and there. All kidding aside, Facebook is lacking many components that not only we as professional users are missing, but imagine my cousins in Italy, the family friend in Florida and my old school mate in Lebanon. Basically, Facebook could have so much more if they were more approachable. As a matter of fact, it's due to their lack of information that we wrote an eBook on some issues for Facebook users http://level343.com/social-media-business-model... (shameless self promotion).Not everyone is well-versed in social media. That's not to say they don't want to learn, but after going through three to five pages to get an answer (if you're lucky), it becomes overwhelming. A last thought - since I'm not a lipstick lesbian, can I watch?

1ZenWoman
1ZenWoman

That's why I call it F-book. Join the movement -- get off it! I got a virus when I tried it and vowed never to go there again!

The Redhead
The Redhead

OK, I'd totally have to do the lipstick lesbian thing since I'm too much of a girly girl as well.

The Redhead
The Redhead

While I may be a "ginger kid," I have a firm grasp on usage and the shift key.Part of customer service is servicing your customer, regardless of "perceived intelligence level." Hence, why I respond to comments that use the improper form of your/you're, misspell "plumber" and capitalize the same misspelled word needlessly. Thanks for negating your own (ill-constructed) point! :)

socialscientist
socialscientist

haha your crazy. There is not a better website around. They don't have a contact page, because the world is filled with idiots. They would waste their time with morons asking the same questions over and over. READ THE DISCUSSION boards. Email them. How can you compare a Plummer to facebook? Ginger Kids always have their own point of view.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Shelly's comment is below. Disqus was having issues yesterday and it got "burped." Give it a read - it made me snort :)

ShellyKramer
ShellyKramer

Will you marry me? Seriously, I'll go lesbo if that's what it takes. And, actually, I love lesbians, so maybe it won't be an issue. Except for the fact that I really, really love men. Oh, wait, I digressed. Amen, Erika. We've had this discussion privately and I am often in the same situation with my clients. And this is one marketing gal that hates to have to say "Well, I dunno, we're just at the mercy of Facebook on this one." Totally SUCKS!Great rant, great subject, can NOT wait to see the responses to this one, because I, too, have been in those forums looking for answers and there's not a one in sight. PS If we do marry, you'll have to be the guy. I'm way too girly for that. Or, we could be lipstick lesbians -- how's about that????@ShellyKramerWeb: http://v3im.comBlog: http://v3im.com/blog

The Redhead
The Redhead

Glad you found value here, Phil. I appreciate your insights as a FB app developer!

The Redhead
The Redhead

Blind cave fish bad? Whoa - maybe you're right that I didn't rant long enough :)

shiva
shiva

Now this is not only true, but a historical internet classic post! I spent 2 weeks looking for the pages I had subscribed to and once found, I am still not sure where they are.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Nothing's free. Facebook is using our information (per their privacy policy) to gain advertising revenue. We're trading info for access. Last I checked, that ain't "free."

The Redhead
The Redhead

Thanks for stopping by, Devon, and I'm glad you found the content compelling! Pleasure to have you as a subscriber.

Victoria
Victoria

Thank you for writing this!!!!! It's so true! How can company IN social media be so unreachable???

The Redhead
The Redhead

Ron, welcome to my blog and thanks for stopping by!

The Redhead
The Redhead

It's not about paying or losing money - it's about bragging about all you do for your users and never listening to them. I'd be happy to pay for Facebook AND Twitter. Show me when, how, and what I can expect for that money.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Your arguments are erroneous, Tive. I did NOT say I wanted Facebook to CUT ads. I wanted the ad quality review process to have improved measures.The UI sucks. Consistently confusing your visitors, plain and simple, is the easiest way to increase your bounce rate. Ask any web designer and UI guy/gal. I also stated that I enjoyed my Facebook Fan Page as did my readers. I recognize what Facebook has brought to the table as a resource and USE it. That does not mean I can't have grievances with how they keep fucking arounds with my "tool." While I'm on the subject of UI design, Google Buzz turned me off before the turned me on. Sensory. Overload.And heavens - my contact information as easy to find. Drop me a line on my contact form, Tive. Find me on Twitter and hate on me on there. I don't "hide" anything. I practice appropriate online security measures by not putting a phone number or email address on my website. What on earth are you talking about "If you were a customer of mine, I'd hide my contact details too." Unlike Facebook, I RESPOND to inquiry emails <novel concept>.My clients stand by me. I stand by them And yes, in this case, I think there are quite a few people who know better than Facebook and it's time the opened an ear and their mouths and started the process of listening and responding to the people the attest to "serve."

The Redhead
The Redhead

1) Item # 1 does not work with Fan Pages, dear. Only Groups.2) I've built a lot of fan pages as well - I can only remove admins I've assigned. They can't remove me.3) Wow. Thanks for reinforcing the obvious. It's a ridiculous limitation and something Facebook should work on changing to further enhance their user experience.The next time you comment with "anon@anon.com," your comment will be deleted. Real, verified email addresses only here at Redhead Writing.

Izache
Izache

followed the link from a post to twitter...and fell here...this post was hilarious and oh so true. I had a facebook awhile back and I don't think I was even on there for a month. For me, it just sucked, and not in a good way either, because I opted out totally frustrated and unsatisfied. Ugh! I hope they listen soon! ;0) safiyaAKAizache

Nick Pepito
Nick Pepito

From the mouth of a babe. Per usual spot on Erika, single voice supported by many. p.s. you should consider the offer from ShellyKramer, rumor is she is smart and successful. (Cha-Ching)

Buliwyff
Buliwyff

so there I was, propping up the buffet table with my arms, when I see this totally hot Google chick. Me being the suave dude that I am, I make a bee-line and start spinning my game. Things were going quite well, even though I might have a chance for some "social-networking" later, when along comes that butt muncher Twitter who inserts himself in our little converstation. Immediately he starts throwing out his inane litte one-liners, totally ruining my mojo....."I am at a party right now", he says, "I am wearing blue pants", he continues, "I like the color clear", and on and on. One silly inane comment after another just starts spewing forth, and I can tell she is starting to look for an exit. "I just had coffee an hour ago" says Twitter, and I finally had enough. "Go away Aston" I said, "I am trying to have a deep conversation here", to which he responded "I pooped twice today" and fortunately exited stage left. Phew, I thought, now I can get back to some real social networking, when BAM, along comes Facebook. He took one look at me, knocked over my nachos, spilled his beer down my shirt, and without so much as an Excuse Me started working his game on my Googlette! I mean really, I was furious, but I am just a little guy so I went back to the buffet and restocked the nachos :-(

The Redhead
The Redhead

A small clarification: Brian retweeted my post which brought it to Facebook's attention :) He's STILL more connected than moi :)

Nick Pepito
Nick Pepito

From the mouth of a babe.Per usual spot on Erika, single voice supported by many. p.s. you should consider the offer from ShellyKramer, rumor is she is smart and successful. (Cha-Ching)

E Dagger
E Dagger

I have no personal Facebook page. I enjoy having no Facebook page. Hearing tales of woe about things that have happened to people on Facebook and the ever-increasing level of complaints about its sucky interface or piss poor customer service or whatever only makes me happier I haven't yet plunged down the rabbit hole. I know I'll probably have to at some point for professional purposes, so my stubborn pride has its limits, but in the meantime, I think I'll just put some peanut butter on some crackers and continue to enjoy life without this headache.

stephenhamilton
stephenhamilton

I was at that kegger, and not only did Facebook drink all my beers, he stole my cab money too! Mind you, I would have gotten out of there as fast as I could have if I'd thrown up all over the hot Google chick after getting all sleazy and trying to impress her with user stats...I loathe Facebook - I just feel sorry for people who are reliant upon it - where else will they go?

robert
robert

As always, you fucking nailed it. I love the concept of Facebook, I've reconnected with great people from my past, and even got sucked into Farmtown for a few weeks. I'd even pay for Facebook if I had to, but only, and I say only if they would stop FUCKING with the UI every 5 weeks.

Anonymous
Anonymous

1. Transferring ownership of a fan page is as simple as making another user an admin of your page and then having them remove you as an admin.2. Not sure about this. Have never encountered a "permanent" admin in any circumstances (and I've built a lot of fan pages).3. The system is fairly clear when you create your fan page that you will NOT be able to change the name at a later date.As for getting in touch with an actual human at Facebook, I've found it's a lot easier to do if you spend some money on ads on the site (shocking).

Luke, Reach Students
Luke, Reach Students

Bang on the money. It feels good to read someone articulating some of the frustrations I feel every day, working most of it in Facebook. I think Facebook is great, I'm not a hater...but I could write a book of constructive criticism. They need to listen more; they are still a young and in many ways niave business.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Sending a shout out to Brian Clark (@copyblogger). A gent WAAAAY more connected than little ol' moi, he shared this post with Facebook:http://twitter.com/facebookbrandee/status/95956...She could "do without the profanity." Yeah? Well, I could do with Customer Service department! Sometimes the truth hurts, no? You ignore what your users are saying on your forums all day long and dis me for my profanity? My stars and garters - what's more profane, fellow Facebook Users?Give him @copyblogger a shout & a thanks, would y'all? Check him out at http://www.copyblogger.com.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Sending a shout out to Brian Clark (@copyblogger). A gent WAAAAY more connected than little ol' moi, he shared this post with Facebook:http://twitter.com/facebookbrandee/status/95956...She could "do without the profanity." Yeah? Well, I could do with Customer Service department! Sometimes the truth hurts, no? You ignore what your users are saying on your forums all day long and dis me for my profanity? My stars and garters - what's more profane, fellow Facebook Users?Give him @copyblogger a shout & a thanks, would y'all?

Phil
Phil

I could not agree more! If there was an alternative currently I would be gone in a second... Not only it the UI crap they treat their developers with as much respect as they treat their users. They constantly change the development platform so I am constantly re-writing my apps just because they say so!There are so many things that infuriate me but the biggest is what you nailed... Customer support is absent! When are they going to wake up or should I say are they ever going to wake up? I don't think we abandoned MySpace I think it was never a real contender because of the way the UI is there and also the way it is run, but I do think that someone could/should come along and make a better Facebook... Although there is an old saying, you can't please all the people all the time, so even if you built a "better" Facebook doesn't mean that someone wouldn't be writing a blog post about you...Thanks for sharing what so many others are thinking!

Stephen Tive Pirrie
Stephen Tive Pirrie

This makes no sense. You want more customer service (for a business promotion tool you don't pay for) but you wants Facebook to cut ads? How do you propose FB pays for this service with less revenue? The UI sucks but it's a primary tool for you and you fans? How can that be if it sucks so badly? Do you really want to go back to this: http://cache.gawker.com/assets/resources/2008/0... It was FB screwing around with the UI that allowed Fan pages in the first place.Yes it can be frustrating at times but honestly, it's a win win for small business owners. If you were a customer of mine, I'd hide my contact details too. And imagine if there were 400m of you all who thought they knew better than the biggest internet success of the last 5 years.

A Whole Lot of Nothing
A Whole Lot of Nothing

It's not just the lack of customer service and ever-changing UI, but it's also the simple navigation of the site. Take a look at the URL of the page you're on sometime while surfing around in FB. It's never the same. It's never exactly what you're looking at. Try bookmarking a page or automatically adding it to a site like Tumblr or Posterous. It's almost never correct.They need their heads out of their arses or they'll end up pandering to the bottom feeders on MySpace.

TaosJohn
TaosJohn

I hate FaceBorg. FaceBorg pulls your brains out and feeds 'em to the hogs. FaceBorg is for wimps who don't know how to tweet. (Reminds me of AOL in the late '90s.) The clubby frat house/sorority house "friends" thing is so bullshit. None of it works right, anyway. I still can't get some friends into my news feed, no matter what I do. There IS NO real "help" section. The stupid games are just marketing data mining operations. The interface is awful, surely the work of failed Windows programmers. The whole experience is demeaning, dehumanizing, and anything but fun. I can't imagine why anyone likes it.I keep up with people via Tweetdeck, so I never have to actually visit FaceBorg.com. Bah.

elevenser
elevenser

Facebook is not necessarily free. What do you suppose is happening or will happen with all that data we've shared? It remains to be seen how "free" this service will remain, and not all value is monetary or transparent to us.

Derek Peplau
Derek Peplau

Some great points raised in your post, Redhead. I think it fell down in one major area, however: You needed to spend at least three more paragraphs about how bad the UX is considering the size of the user base. It's appallingly bad. Designed by blind cave fish bad. I put the general UI's failings down to the fact that their product and UX people are either in the wrong line of work, or their vision is crushed by committee and the need to please too many masters.The only explanation for the admin UI (especially the settings related to apps and privacy) is that it's done deliberately to put the less experienced off from even trying to navigate it and by burying things seven layers down which even an experienced user could easily miss in order to maximize the amount of data which can be used, exposed and repurposed. Nothing is organized in any logical way. I'd be willing to bet 85-90% of facebook users are sharing more than they think they are as a result.

Jeff Yablon
Jeff Yablon

yes yes yes, both to what you wrote and to the folks who commented that it's free.fun game, this intertubes, huh?

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