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Facebook users lash out at new Happening Now feature

June 29, 2011 |  6:59 pm

Fb Some grumpy Facebook users drafted to test a new feature on the social networking site aren’t happy about it.

Facebook says less than 1% of its users are testing a real-time feature called Happening Now that shows the commenting and liking activity of their friends as they take place.

A small number of those users are airing their displeasure. Their complaint: They should be able to opt out.

"I hate it!," said Melinda Gould, 61, of San Francisco in a comment on the Times' Technology blog. "I'm packing my bags and moving out. I don't twitter or tweet."

It’s almost a rule: If Facebook makes a change, someone has to protest it. The Happening Now feature is no exception.

A tiny band of protestors have formed the "Facebooks 'Happening Now' Haters" group. It has 480 members.

"I woke up the other morning, turned it on and said, 'What is this?'" Betsy Mentzer, 62, of Newark, Ohio, said. “We were lab rats."

Chief among complaints about the feature: It shows status updates from friends of friends. The feature also displaced event and birthday reminders, making those features harder to find. Others say the “Top News” and “Most Recent” buttons are missing.

Facebook declined to comment.

Not all the reviews are bad. At least one person testing the feature said he likes it.

"For me its a little more managable and when you click some thing on that news feed it doesnt have to send you to another page and you can just view it right there with no hassle," said Facebook user Mario Rodriguez in a comment on the Times' Technology blog.


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-- Salvador Rodriguez

Image: A screenshot of the Facebook group "Facebooks 'Happening Now' Haters." Credit: Facebook