Nearly 2.7m social networkers have joined the group called '1,000,000 against the new Facebook layout' and members are being urged by the group's leaders not to use the social networking site during October 18 and 19.
It's not the only Facebook group created to protest the new design, which, according to Facebook, has now become the default for almost all of its members. Another group called 'Petition Against the New Facebook' has more than 1.6m backers, while the group 'I hate the new Faceboo' has 1.5m supporters.
It's likely that there is a lot of overlap among these groups' supporters, but if the largest group contains all of those opposed to the new design, that's still a significant number of unhappy members. Facebook has 100m active users.
Facebook has been monitoring these groups, tracking the complaints and reaching out to some of the leaders, a spokeswoman for the company said. Facebook is receptive to feedback from its members, values their enthusiasm for the site and is taking their suggestions into account for future design improvements, she said.
Jessica Fishbein, a school teacher who is one of the administrators of the 1,000,000 against the new Facebook layout group, begs to differ. "Facebook, which normally cared about the feedback of people, just made this decision, didn't really care what the users thought and isn't really responding to feedback," she said. "People are very upset."
Fishbein said that neither she nor the group's other administrator had been contacted by Facebook, although Fishbein has written to the company with links and information about the group and asking for help. She said she and her fellow administrator had to oust the group's creator after he tried to profit from its massive popularity for commercial reasons. Indeed, they haven't been able to scrub his commercial pitch from the group description, despite asking Facebook for help, she said.
Fishbein, like many redesign critics, dislikes the new tabbed interface because she feels it forces people to do too much clicking around to see and find things. She preferred the more consolidated look and feel of the old design. She also finds the overall effect of the new design to be "very in-your-face," whereas the previous layout was, in her view, less strident and more discreet.
Fishbein realises that Facebook is unlikely to revert to its old design, but she feels the company could earn a lot of points with its members if it acknowledges the main criticisms and makes modifications.
NEXT PAGE: Facebook's goals with the new-look site
Facebook users are planning to stage a boycott of the social networking site in a bid to highlight their frustrations over the new look website.
"The goal is to send a strong signal to Facebook. For every person that takes the time to join this group, there are more out there who are upset," said Fishbein, who has been a Facebook user for about two years and is administrator of another group devoted to ending hate speech.
Fishbein said it would be good to give members the option to toggle back and forth between the old and new interfaces, as it did between July and September. However, the Facebook spokeswoman said that this is unfeasible for technical reasons. It would make it complicated and cumbersome for Facebook and for developers who create applications for the site, she said.
Since early this year, Facebook tried to keep its members informed about its redesign plans and asked for input via a section on the site called Facebook Profiles Preview. The company has said it took into account feedback from members when developing the redesign.
Among Facebook's goals with the new design were to reduce the clutter of members' profile pages and restore the social network's clean and organised layout. The company also wanted to make the site's activity feed features more prominent and easier to use.
As a result, the redesign redistributed profile components to different tabs and increased the prominence of the Wall feature, where members and their friends can post comments, broadcast action updates and post links and photos, among other things.
Facebook is no stranger to complaints. When first introduced, the activity feed feature was blasted by users as violating their privacy, as was the Beacon ad program that broadcast actions made outside of the site by Facebook's users to their friends. With this redesign, some external developers complained that the redesigned profile page would steal visibility from their applications.
See also: Facebook urges users to swap to new-look site