Facebook’s new Like button is a major clusterfrak.

April 22nd, 2010 by Jarmo Puskala

Frakkin toaster.

Let’s start with a warning. If you’re not interested in the latest developements with Facebook & social media, feel free to skip this post. However, for those of you who care, I want to explain why you won’t be seeing Facebook’s new “Like” buttons on Iron Sky’s sites right now. You probably ran into these on many other site already:

The idea here is, that Facebook wants to take over the world web by having people “like” anything and everything they encounter online with their familiar Like-button. This in theory makes it a lot easier for your users and fans to spread the word to their friends. And that’s awesome, because internet is about sharing and being social…

The problem is, that it’s all a huge clusterfrak right now. And as much as us working on Iron Sky want to be in the forefront of being social, we’re goign to wait a bit and see if they can sort this all out. Now, let me explain what is the problem.

Facebook Pages

We’re all familiar with Facebook pages. They used to have “fans”, now it says something like 12,137 People Like This. Those who like the page will receive updates from the page and can post comments. And for Iron Sky the page has become quite active, we get a lot of comments, suggestion etc. It’s all very social. On our website we have a box that shows the latest updates and where you can start following our updates.

The new Like button

Now Facebook wants every website to have a “Like” button. Administrator of the sites can use meta tags to control what the like button likes, for us it would be “Iron Sky the movie“.

Now it starts to get complicated. We would add meta tags to all the pages the like button resides where we would associate Iron Sky the movie with Facebook users who can administer it and it would show up in their list of pages. Then they could send updates to everyone who has liked Iron Sky the movie.

So, basically the like button creates something that works like a Facebook page, except it’s not a Facebook page. It’s meant to present the whole concept of Iron Sky the movie. Except it’s tied to the name and url I have for it after 10 people have liked it.

The clusterfrak

Now, if we were to add this new Like-button to our site, we’d also have the “Like” in the box that connects to our Facebook page. They would look the same to users, but do different things. One would have them receive updates from the “not page” and one from our “Facebook page”. Right now there doesn’t seem to be any way to connect these two, so we’d have to select between the two. If we’d want to use the “not page” it would mean we’d have to start building the community from scratch. Or we’d have to update both of them and people who’ve liked both of them would receive the same update from both.

So what Facebook has done is to duplicate the function of existing pages, but made it a lot harder to administer and harder to understand. To use both would be confusing to users and admins alike.

That is why you won’t be seeing the like buttons on the Iron Sky site today, or this week. I’m first to admit that Facebook Pages used to be completely useless when they first came out, but now they’re great and have made groups obsolete. Maybe one day the this new functionality will in turn make pages obsolete. However, right now it’s difficult and while I like the idea behind it, I don’t like the implementation.

Update 23.4.

If you’re still considering using the buttons you might want to readthis article. That’s pretty much it, this iteration is a stillborn and needs to be fixed.

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4 Responses to “Facebook’s new Like button is a major clusterfrak.”

  1. Carlos says:

    I don’t think it’s just *clicking* the “Like” button we need to be concerned about. Even just having it on a page will harvest the browsing habits of logged-in users, if my understanding is correct. That’s pretty scary.

    I explain more here: http://philosophicalzombie.net/post/540799211/has-facebook-just-become-the-evil-empire-whats-wrong

  2. Yeah, there’s the privacy concerns as well… But others are worrying about them, I’m just going to complain about the system not really working.

  3. The Stick says:

    http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/04/facebooks-evil-interfaces

    Facebook is not the only site out there fracking up our ptivacy…

  4. facebook says:

    Thanks. So what Facebook has done is to duplicate the function of existing pages, but made it a lot harder to administer and harder to understand. To use both would be confusing to users and admins alike..