Why the new Facebook groups suck


The suckiness of Facebook groups is not a new subject. But now Facebook groups have gone through one of those facelifts that leaves the person still looking like themselves, just way more freaky. So let’s take a moment to make fun of the “new and improved” Facebook group.

What are the changes?

It actually took me around a week to find out about the changes but once I found out, it was clear as day that something was fishy in Facebook land.

I woke up and found my email inbox all but flooded with messages mainly from strangers that looked something like this:

fb group emails

Turned out that Facebook had made the following quite anthropologically interesting change:

People can now add their Facebook friends to groups without the friend’s permission.

To be clear, in general, there is almost nothing I’d ever want to do to anyone without their permission. And now, if I ever want to invite someone to a Facebook group, I am basically “forced” to force them into the group. No more suggestions. That would just be too civil, wouldn’t it?

The new automatic settings

Wait. It gets more amusing (and then more amusing). So now this person is in a group without even being aware of it. Now to add to the pushiness, the automatic notification setting is that members of Facebook groups receive messages to their email every time someone posts or comments there. Every time.

That explained all the emails I’d received. Mind you, 99% of them were not about the group but instead attacks on the creator of the group for adding all of us without our permission. (I stood up for him, explaining that it wasn’t his fault, but Facebook’s fault. Aren’t I kind?)

As for this notifications setting, it’s very easy to change but you’ve gotta be on the ball or else it’s very annoying. You just click on “Edit Settings” in the upper right-hand corner of the page when you’re in the group, then a window pops up and you edit it as you wish.

fb group change settings

The grand finale – I’ll never ever forgive you!

Now, ready for this? This is the other end of the new ability to add people without their permission.

If my lovely friend added me to a group and I decided I am not interested in that group, I can opt out. That makes sense. The crazy part is that this means that my possibly-well-meaning friend will never be allowed to add me to another group again. Ever!

I must say that this part of the new set-up makes me think that whoever was behind it has super unhealthy personal relationships. Because seriously, assuming I am not on bad terms with any of my Facebook friends (I hope I’d remove anyone with whom I don’t want to be communicating at all), why would I want this to be so final? I probably opted out just because the group is not of interest to me. That doesn’t mean I never want my friend to be able to recommend any group to me ever again!

This, of course, is not to mention the fact that if, to begin with, the friend was sending me a suggestion instead of a forced joining, this wouldn’t even be an issue.

This change is actually childish, though even children usually only talk like that (“I never want to play with you again!”) and then 10 minutes later they’re playing as if nothing happened.

I do wish I wasn’t married to Facebook

So, those are some of the latest changes. I read a seriously lol-ful blog post about these changes by Danny Sullivan. The title is too long to quote here (I’d have to start paying for real estate) but it’s a great story about someone (true story) who was added to some highly embarrassing group just to prove the point I’m trying to prove here (that Facebook Groups are evil, of course).

Facebook so often does things that are so unfriendly that an urge arises from deep within me to leave Facebook. And then I remember… Too bad I have close to 90 photo albums and so much other information there. (I would absolutely love to have a way to download all my info from Facebook so I have it somewhere other than there.)

So instead of wishing I could leave, I just wish that Facebook would head on down to someone else’s office, say, Google, and ask them for some tips on how to make changes that gently fall into place and make the user’s experience just that much more pleasant and fun, instead of making changes that sort of slap you in the Face and make you wish you could take the Book and slap them back.

P.S. All of this is not to mention that really Facebook should take the pluses of groups and the pluses of pages and just put them together into one. But that’s for another post.