The 7 Facebook features that shouldn’t exist

pointless facebook features why

Facebook used to be just a few things: Your profile picture. Your list of college classes. Your relationship status. Then it added the Wall. Then it added the News Feed. Then Places. And then everything else.

The features come fast and furiously, they’ve been almost unstoppable. The company has grown and thus so has its development strategy. Sometimes, you get a hit: Graph Search is pretty cool. Photo tagging was obviously a good idea. Chat is a core function.

But then, sometimes, Facebook, you confound us. These are those times.

The Games Feed

fb games feedHaving separate feeds is definitely a great idea; being able to see just my local crew or just my college friends is valuable. (Not insanely valuable, but hey, we’ll take it.) But one of the specific feeds Facebook offers you is beyond unnecessary: The Games Feed.

games feed fb feed

Want a never-ending update on your friends’ obsession with Farmville and Candy Crush? It gets even better when most of your Facebook contacts are wise enough to have silenced all the notification noises they’re making with this, and one or two people are the only ones showing up in this feed. Perfect. I now know what two of you are doing all the time, always.

add to favorites

Crazier yet? You can’t delete this feed, only add it to Favorites. I don’t… I just. I can’t. 

Edit history

fb edit historyNow this is just mean. Last year, Facebook introduced the ability to edit a comment. Thank ye, Facebook gods! No more looking like an idiot for using the wrong “your” and then debating how much energy we were willing to devote to deleting said comment and rewriting it with the correct usage (saying “first world problems” is incredibly played out, but it so applies here).

edit history example

But don’t think you can get away with slyly correcting yourself, oh no. A little button letting everyone view the edit history of your comment shows up. It’s one thing if you were fixing a misspelling of “receive” (that damn “I after E except after C” B.S. is never going to seep into your brain, is it?). It’s entirely another if in a drunken rage you called out your friend’s boyfriend for being a total douchebag about carpooling to the barbeque next week in that group post you’re all tagged in.

Or something else that isn’t that. Whatever.

Welcome and notify guests

fb events featureFacebook Events have sort of become this giant guilt-trip that’s no fun to be on either end of: Either you’ve created an event and end up constantly texting your friends, asking them to seriously, please, just let me know if you’re coming and if you can bring some guac – or you’re dodging texts from your friends because we’re all non-committal jerks who just want to show up to stuff when we feel like it, jeez!

Facebook has tried to update these and make them more engaging and interesting, but this feature just makes you a hyperactive naggy-naghead. The minute you do join an event, you’re prompted to tell everyone why you’re going. “Hi! I’m going because there’s nothing better happening this weekend.” “Hi! I’m going because my date bailed at the last second.” “Hi! I’m going because drinking alone has taken a hard right turn from relaxing to concerning.”

Unimportant life events

fb glass contactsWhen Facebook introduced the Timeline, it also brought a new feature that let you add life events. Things like when you graduated college, when you started dating someone, when you got married, or moved, or got a job. You know – important life events.

But if you dive in just the tiniest bit deeper, you’ll see that Facebook offers some suggestions. For instance, when you got glasses or contacts. Seriously.

I’ll tell you that story right now: I got glasses in 7th grade after pretending for two years that I could see everything and then I put them on and I was like “Oh wow, trees have leaves.” This was not an important event that is comparable to being accepted to college.

The Other inbox

fb other inboxOh, Other inbox, you are the bane of our Facebook existences. When Facebook introduced its new messaging system, it also brought the Other inbox, a place where “spam” from people you weren’t friends with was collected. The long-tail plan was to create the feature where these unknowns could pay to message you, but the effect has been that this “secret” inbox went under our radars and messages went unread for quite some time.

The first time many of us looked, there were notes from relatives who’d just gotten Facebook and confusedly didn’t know how to add us; from friends who’d deleted Facebook, returned, and just wanted to check in. Some of them were from straight up creepers, but nonetheless – these were our messages and we didn’t know they were there.

Still, it remains rather non-descript and unnoticed by most users for long bouts of time.

Acquaintances

fb acquaintancesThe point of the Acquaintances feed just eludes me. When Facebook created auto Friend Lists, there were a handful that the network was able to make on its own by culling information from your contacts. This included Close Friends, Family, College, High School, and a feed based on your location… and then one for your Acquaintances. What’s that now? This feed seems like the leftovers – and not the leftovers that you’re pumped to eat, like from Thanksgiving or homemade mac’n’cheese… more like a really average burger that you know won’t heat up right. Does anyone often click this to check out what’s going on with their Acquaintances? Really? You just tiptoe in, take one bite… aaaaand it’s game over.

How do you know ___?

fb poll friendsEvery once in awhile, the above poll shows up in the right-hand sidebar. We all know by now that Facebook wants to know every single thing it can about us, and perhaps this is a part of a News Feed algorithm update that’s in the works. Still, c’mon man… this is just a little bit too much. And honestly, why would I ever tell you even more than you’re already gleaning from my account? You figure it out, Facebook. Don’t make me do more of your dirty work for you.  

Product Review

Cut cable and keep quality with TiVo's 4K-friendly Bolt OTA DVR

Free over-the-air programming isn’t available in 4K, so why would you want a 4K OTA DVR? We’ll discuss what makes the new TiVo Bolt OTA a viable choice for cord-cutters with 4K UHD TVs who want to get ahead of the game.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Computing

Turn your desk into a command center with the best ultrawide monitors

Top of the line ultrawide monitors have the deepest curves, the sharpest colors, and the biggest screens on the market today. You’re going to want one, sooner or later. So why not sooner? These are the best ultrawide monitors you can buy…
Home Theater

Bask in the glory of your home theater with these 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays

What good is a 4K TV if you don't have the means of pushing it to its limits? Here are our favorite 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays, all of which are nothing short of stunning. It'll make you wonder why you haven't always watched movies this way.
Social Media

Dine and dash(board): Make a Yelp reservation from your car’s control panel

Already in the car, but can't decide where to eat? Yelp Reservations can now be added to some dashboard touchscreens. Yelp Reservations searches for restaurants within 25 miles of the vehicle's location.
Computing

Hackers sold 120 million private Facebook messages, report says

Up to 120 million private Facebook messages were being sold online by hackers this fall. The breach was first discovered in September and the messages were obtained through unnamed rogue browser extensions. 
Social Media

Facebook opens pop-up stores at Macy’s, but they’re not selling the Portal

Facebook has opened pop-up stores at multiple Macy's, though they're not selling Facebook's new Portal device. Instead, they're showcasing small businesses and brands that are already popular on Facebook and Instagram.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. You're in luck -- we've gathered 23 of the best subreddits to help…
Social Media

Facebook Messenger will soon let you delete sent messages

A feature coming to Facebook Messenger will let you delete a message for up to 10 minutes after you send it. The company promised the feature months ago and this week said it really is on its way ... "soon."
Social Media

Pinterest brings followed content front and center with full-width Pin format

Want to see Pinterest recommendations, or just Pins from followed users? Now Pinners can choose with a Pinterest Following feed update. The secondary feed eliminates recommendation and is (almost) chronological.
Smart Home

Facebook's Alexa-enabled video-calling devices begin shipping

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.
Social Media

Vine fans, your favorite video-looping app is coming back as Byte

Vine fans were left disappointed in 2017 when its owner, Twitter, pulled the plug on the video-looping app. But now one of its co-founders has promised that a new version of the app, called Byte, is coming soon.
News

Social media use increases depression and anxiety, experiment shows

A study has shown for the first time a causal link between social media use and lower rates of well-being. Students who limited their social media usage to 30 minutes a day showed significant decreases in anxiety and fear of missing out.
Social Media

Twitter boss hints that an edit button for tweets may finally be on its way

Twitter has been talking for years about launching an edit button for tweets, but it still hasn't landed. This week, company boss Jack Dorsey addressed the matter again, describing a quick-edit button as "achievable."