No t o nly did f eeds no t push users away by the

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Unformatted text preview: 2006, just as many o f the natio n’s undergrads were arriving o n campus. Feeds ref lecting any Facebo o k activity (including changes to the relatio nship status) became a so rt o f go ssip page splashed right when yo ur f riends lo gged in. To many, f eeds were f irst seen as a viral blast o f digital no siness—a release o f inf o rmatio n they hadn’t co nsented to distribute widely. And in a remarkable iro ny, user disgust o ver the News Feed ambush o f f ered a whip-crack demo nstratio n o f the po wer and speed o f the f eed virus. Facebo o k pro test gro ups were f o rmed o n Facebo o k itself , and every student who , f o r example, jo ined a gro up named Students Against Facebo o k News Feed, had this f act blasted to their f riends (alo ng with a quick link where f riends, to o , co uld click to jo in the gro up). Hundreds o f tho usands o f users mo bilized against the f irm in just twenty-f o ur ho urs. It lo o ked like Zuckerberg’s creatio n had turned o n him, Frankenstein style. The f irst o f f icial Facebo o k blo g po st o n the co ntro versy came o f f as a bit co ndescending (never a go o d to ne to use when yo ur custo mers f eel that yo u’ve wro nged them). “Calm do wn. Breathe. We hear yo u,” wro te Zuckerberg o n the evening o f September 5. The next po st, three days af ter the News Feed launch, was much mo re co ntrite (“We really messed this o ne up,” he wro te). In an o pen letter, Zuckerberg apo lo gized f o r the surprise, explaining ho w users co uld o pt o ut o f f eeds. The tactic wo rked, and the co ntro versy blew o ver.F. Vo gelstein, “Ho w Mark Zuckerberg Turned Facebo o k into the Web’s Ho ttest P latf o rm,” Wired, September 6, 2007. The ability to sto p perso nal inf o rmatio n f ro m f lo wing into the f eed stream was just eno ugh to stif le critics, and as it turns o ut, a lo t o f peo ple really liked the f eeds and f o und them usef ul. It so o n became clear that if yo u wanted to use the Web to keep track o f yo ur so cial lif e and co ntacts, Facebo o k was the place to be. No t o nly did f eeds no t push u...
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