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A Phone That No One “Likes”

It was bound to happen. Within a month of its release, AT&T has formally announced that the brand new “Facebook phone” is going to be discontinued. And thus the world mourns. Mark Zuckerberg’s bizarro world, at least, since the real world never actually bought one.

It’s hard to feel sorry for Facebook because of this. As a business, it’s gained a pretty bad rep over the last year or so, with complaints about the service ranging from petty “they changed the layout waaaah” complaints, to genuine concerns about how much the privacy settings seem to keep changing themselves.

So amongst all of this negativity, it was, of course, the best time to release a version of Facebook that hijacks the entire Android layout and makes you use Facebook all the time, and then release a brand new phone model that ships with it pre-installed. Well, in Mark Zuckerberg’s bizarro world, it’s certainly a great business decision, but clearly didn’t apply to the real world.

Facebook Home was doomed to failure from the very beginning. This was a phone that made Facebook an operating system rather than a normal app. Every time you load up the phone, you’d be informed of everything your friends have been up to all at once, with status messages and invites being the primary thing you’d see everywhere you go on your phone. In Mark Zuckerberg’s bizarro world, you see, this is how people communicate.

At first I thought I was in a minority in thinking Facebook Home was pointless. While I have a Facebook account, I use it for its absolute bare minimum and don’t care to know absolutely everything that everyone is doing every second of every day. But the poor sales certainly suggest that other people view Facebook as invasive and annoying, but occasionally a necessary evil to keep in touch with friends. If you have a phone, you already have a way to keep in touch with friends – it’s called a phone – so maybe the need to plaster it in Facebook features didn’t really exist. It exists in Mark Zuckerberg’s bizarro world, of course, but not here.

Facebook seems to constantly forget that many use it as little more than a way to keep in touch with their friends, but it also forgets that it’s not the only thing people use. Twitter is hugely popular, and phone calls and emails still happen for genuinely important stuff. It could be possible that people may wish to use their phones for these things too. Not in Mark Zuckerberg’s bizarro world, apparently.

Could it also be that people don’t necessarily want to be bombarded with the news that their friends just made a great sandwich or achieved a high score in some cheap knock-off Zynga time-waster? Could it be that people don’t want this stuff shoved in their faces all the time? It’s easy to scroll through your wall on the Facebook website and mentally skim over the inane pointless stuff, but when your phone bleeps every time your vain friend posts another duckface photo of herself, it could be viewed as potentially annoying. Maybe.

Another part of the issue could lie in the fact that people tend to be attracted to Android phones for the fact that they are open source and customisable, moreso than the Apple alternative, so Facebook dumping their features all over it and removing the customisation options in the process may have been another stumbling block. But then again, customisation in Mark Zuckerberg’s bizarro world involves making everything blue and adding a modified Klavika Bold font.

I think it’s time for Mark Zuckerberg to move out of his bizarro world and really start looking at what people actually want from Facebook instead of trying to predict it and constantly failing. Because I certainly don’t see many people saying they “Like” the Facebook Phone any time soon.

For more fun with Facebook, check out my review of The Social Network over on Sven vs. The Movies!

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