Saturday, 29 August 2020

No. Facebook FB5 is NOT the Next Covid

In a world where we have a tendency to complain about major issues of injustice, health, the economy... I suspect that... 3, 2, 1... we are going to be reverting back to first-world 'problems' in about 7-10 days.


Yes... it's that time again. Park those pro/anti-Trump posts, save the rain forests, stop fracking, wear a mask/don't wear a mask, my latest changeorg page etc., hold my beer... My favourite inner animal on a random app says I'm mostly a unicorn... I got 10/10 on this quiz about wines from Southern France.... Wait...

I can't do any of that now because when I woke up this morning, Facebook just changed and I don't recall receiving a personal signed and registered letter in the US Post directly from Mark Zuckerberg explaining in specific detail why this outrageous thing just happened.

Yup... it will be a bit like:

"Did you get it? I just did. I don't know how."

"OMG.. You mean Covid (SARS-CoV-2)?"

"No... Forget Covid, that's fuckin' fake and just a plot by the governments and Bill Gates to get us to take his vaccines. I mean the New Facebook. This SHIT is real. It's on my computer and I don't know now to get rid of it."

"You mean you can't just run a test... delete it or block it like Friends who are supporters of Biden?"

"No. It's just there and won't go away."

Whatever your position... Facebook’s “classic” experience, the interface with the iconic blue navigation bar at the top, is disappearing for good in September. Facebook support has formally confirmed that everyone will soon have the new design. Although you currently can temporarily switch back to the old interface on Facebook’s site, the button warns that “the classic Facebook will no longer be available starting in September.”

The new design was announced at Facebook’s developer conference last year, and initially rolled out on the service’s iOS and Android apps. In March it got a widespread release on desktop as an opt-in feature, leaving people free to continue using the old design if they want to. Come September, however, the old design will disappear for good.

As a registered developer with Facebook, I was invited at the end of January/early February to beta test the new platform. I did, but over a very limited time over two or three days. I'd say I spent about 3 or 4 hours messing about with it and then after submitting a user-feedback report, it was gone... poof. I never saw it again. I clearly had an early Euro/UK version because it did have bugs and unresponsive functions we were asked to report. I never heard anything from Facebook after that. In truth, over the last few months as the full FB5 version was rolled out, I was a bit miffed that I wasn't one of its early roll-out adopters by default. It's a bit like reviewing a free toaster from Phillips, you at least expect you'll be allowed keep the toaster. Nope. So much for being a guinea pig.

I have to be honest. I didn't screenshot the online feedback form I filled in. I wasn't expecting the damn thing to be pulled from my profile after submission of my report. I at least thought I would have it for a little longer. So I have to trust to memory and recall the issues I had, but accept it's likely the early software bugs were fixed. Indeed, some of the recent roll-out adopters of it have confirmed to me that they have been fixed.

As I recall, I said:

* The design is cleaner and less compacted

* The White Space (Google White) is better but hard on the eyes after a short time
* It's simple but the UI is not intuitive and navigation will be difficult for someone not familiar with the IOS and Android phone versions which it seems to replicate
* If this is a development for heavy PC/MAC users, it still needs a lot of work
* I liked that Groups and Watch (Video) was given more of a prominence
* I liked that the intention was to promote more Friend-related stuff and less news stuff in the Newsfeed (NOTE: FB were still working on the old algorithms then for Newsfeed
* I liked that the status post-editor had adopted the improved features of NOTES, but NOTES itself as a blog feature had appeared (at least then) to have been ditched
* The post-editor was not re-purposing shares and links correctly (NOTE: We could not use this totally live so we had to keep switching back and forth between versions to see how things looked in the old version)
* I said the new GAMING icon in the main icon menu bar was a mistake and that if this was a Desktop version, it was outdated and GAMING needed to be treated as a different sub app like pages or at least differently on a Profile
* I had a similar view of the MARKETPLACE icon and that general users are adverse to using FB as a place of purchase and that is not going to change unless you are a business user which 90% of FB profiles are not
* Settings/Security was still adversely buried and should be one of the final main icons on the top bar
Facebook, at least from what I have seen and heard, have address some of the above, but a lot have not.
There are more important things happening in the world. This is an inconvenience, and it's one you get for FREE. If you don't like it, have issues with data and security sharing, then don't use it. But don't be hypocritical and use something that is free to use or changes, and use it to protest on it that it has changed and removing your rights. Easy... just don't use it.
FB5 New Users
I'd suggest when the FB5 change hits you this week or next week, try switching to 'Dark Mode' in the user settings until you better navigate and get use to it. It's easier on the eye and the icons are easier to see.



September 2020 (You are getting it whether you like it or not)

Facebook, for I guess a number of reasons, Covid, all staff remote, delayed and reworking of earlier versions, fixing early bugs, seem to have decided in recent months to move from PHASE 1 (Roll out with an invitation) to a rapid PHASE 2 (Complete Roll Out without a switch back option). In other words, this is now the HARD global roll out and they are not supporting the older classic version). The idea (2019) was that everyone would get the invite and have months to play with both versions. That's gone now. They are HARD rolling out now and many in recent weeks report they don't have the revert to Classic Version option.

A bit like Covid... we need to start getting to living with FB5. There isn't an option to go back to things as they were.

My advice...

There are more important things happening in the world. This is an inconvenience, and it's one you get for FREE. If you don't like it, have issues with data and security sharing, then don't use it. But don't be hypocritical and use something that is free to use or changes, and use it to protest on it that it has changed and removing your rights. Easy... just don't use it.

FB5 New Users
I'd suggest when the FB5 change hits you this week or next week, try switching to 'Dark Mode' in the user settings until you better navigate and get use to it. It's easier on the eye and the icons are easier to see.

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