[Update, 9:22 a.m. PST]
It appears we all spoke and/or tweeted too soon, and the Ticker is back. Facebook has been experiencing an especially bad morning with tons of feature outages, including the inability to post status updates, Like posts, and yes, the Ticker disappeared from many profiles.
Given how Facebook’s been testing this removal anyway and the mass absence (plus the fact that everything else was fully functional for many of us), we assumed there’d been an axing. Unfortunately that’s not the case (yet) and the Ticker lives to fight another die.
This morning upon signing into Facebook, something felt … different. Off. Not quite normal – but perhaps better. Well it turns out that’s because the Ticker is gone from my page.
And this doesn’t appear to be a small test; a quick office poll revealed that most of us are now Tickerless. And Twitter users are wondering where their’s went as well.
I could swear that there used to be a ticker with what my friends were doing up in the right top corner of… http://t.co/mNZOl4wW7q
— Hedonist Six (@Hedonist6) October 21, 2013
While the breadth of the Ticker removal is fairly sudden and staggering, the fact that Facebook is shutting it down isn’t surprising. There has been talk about killing off the hyper-speed notifications bar since … well, almost since it launched. Plenty of users have reported for years now the absence of their Ticker, as Facebook has been testing whether to remove the thing altogether.
The Ticker was introduced along with the Timeline back in September 2011, just ahead of Facebook’s F8 conference. The idea behind the feature was to give us a slice of real time interaction without massively restructuring how News Feed works. “Now when a friend comments, asks a question or shares something like a check in, you’ll be able to join the conversation right away. Click on anything in the ticket to see the full story and chime in – without losing your place,” Facebook said at the time.
But as it turns out, for all our problems with News Feed, we did not care for the Ticker (save for the sad souls on Twitter wondering where it went). Browsers launched extensions to get rid of it, and complaints piled up. The Ticker meant that none of your Facebook connected activity could go unnoticed – i.e., those long embarrassing Spotify sessions you forgot to toggle as private, or a 3 a.m. drunken photo liking spree. The Ticker saw – and told – all.
It did seem like it could help Facebook approach its real time problems, what with its continued competition with Twitter and need to drive timely, public conversations. But the Ticker didn’t capture our attention or drive activity; it was just a constantly-updating, tiny little fly buzzing in the corner of the room and driving us crazy … until one day, it just became a distant hum of white noise we ably ignored.
Farewell, Ticker. You shall not be missed.