An open letter to Facebook

Posted as my FB status tonight…

Dear Facebook,

Once again, you are proving yourself incapable of doing the one function your partners and advertisers expect of you — feeding a complete and correct News Feed to your sheep… um… members.

See, here’s the thing. Your value to your partners is exactly equal to the trust your members have that you’ll get the News Feed right. Screw that up consistently, and someone else will come along who *can* do it right. And if you don’t believe me, I have one word for you: MySpace. FOX Interactive managed to blow a billion-dollar valuation in a couple of years because they couldn’t keep MySpace humming. It is not beyond belief that, if your inability to keep the hamster wheels running smoothly continues, you could blow a multi-billion-dollar valuation.

Stop fixing what isn’t broken, and start fixing what is broken. Google’s over your shoulder, and you have to figure there are other major players that could jump in if you guys keep showing weakness.

If your audience loses faith, all of Zuck’s billions and all of Zuck’s men won’t put it back together again. I’d hate to see that happen… but I have my Google+ account ready if it does.

Rob Hoffmann (who remembers when AOL was meaningful, too…)

UPDATE (posted as a comment on my FB status): According to Privacy and Security Guide, apparently FB engineers are (as they usually do, and as any sane organization would NOT do) rolling out a large code change, causing tonight’s insane News Feed.  My point remains unchanged.  It’s reaching the point that FB has to do what IT organizations worldwide do — define maintenance periods and actually go offline briefly to install upgrades.  There’s a reason websites go down for maintenance: live code changes will cause the loss of faith I mentioned above.


Author: Rob Hoffmann

Occasional blogger, slightly less occasional improv player/ref/tech, full-time computer techie, radio producer (basketball, mostly), generally nice person (if you ask me).

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