Facebook needs to point it’s focus back on people and privacy

** UPDATE April 2014: Facebook has begun reducing Pages spam, see here **

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I’ve read a few articles recently about how Facebook is dropping in daily and monthly active users especially in the teenage demographic. Some articles pin it to the fact that more and more parents are joining Facebook, some pin it on the advent of other social services like Google+, Twitter, Vine, Snapchat etc. I’ve got some different ideas. It’s simple, Facebook has been oversharing.  1. Stop sharing everything that everyone does. Get rid of the ticker! 

Nobody likes this (Ok except attention seekers). The ticker and News Feed are filled with low quality posts like John Smith liked a picture from 2012 or Joe Bloggs commented on someone’s post who’s not your friend. People have started realising that they don’t want to share what they do especially not when it happens automatically in the background without the ability to turn it off. I personally think it’s because they see the reflection of this happening when they’re browsing facebook and how much it tells you about exactly what others are doing. This causes people to double think about everything they do on Facebook because undoubtedly someone will see what they’re doing. Why do you think engagement has gone down?

2. Provide a clear visual warning (not a dismissible tooltip) to anyone posting anything with a public privacy.

I know it’s Facebook’s ethos to make the world a more open place, I commend that but the majority of people don’t. Again, people have started realising that they don’t want to share what they do and definitely not publicly. I’ve had to review so many friends and family members’ privacy settings, especially the older demographic. They don’t understand these things until someone points it out for them and corrects it (even then some don’t understand it and there’s no stopping them from unintentionally changing it back). Facebook’s strategy regarding public data is confusing, it’s really only ‘Facebook public’. Even if someone shares something publicly, Facebook doesn’t actually let search engines crawl it’s information so it’s still not technically public. Maybe focus on educating users about that.

3. Facebook’s privacy settings are complicated again. (Although were they ever simple?)

The need to put the focus back on simplicity, a large chunk of their demographics are older people. Not that this should matter because the majority of people are not strong on IT stuff. Privacy settings

In my opinion since Facebook went public with it’s IPO’s it’s taken it’s focus away from people to revenue. This typically gets in the way of privacy. Facebook needs to gain people’s trust again and to do that privacy is the key to return engagement and slight growth.  Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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