Facebook bombs on customer satisfaction.
Facebook’s customer satisfaction score is now as low as that of airlines, and while experts point to site changes and ads as reasons for this distaste, we think there’s a more basic explanation: Facebook complicates your life.
CBS’s Larry Dignan reports that Facebook scored 64 out of 100 this year on the American Customer Satisfaction Index, below IRS e-filing, right in line with airlines, and just ahead of MySpace (which got a 63). Larry Freed, whose company runs the Index, attributed the poor score to three factors: “Frequent changes to the site; Advertising intruding on customer satisfaction; And privacy concerns.” But are those really enough to make people hate the social networking site as much as they hate companies that make them put all their shampoo in a little baggie before standing in line forever? I think it’s a little more complicated than that — to use a Facebook term.
Facebook’s “relationship status” feature (and the source of the infamous “it’s complicated”) has been much maligned, especially when Facebook added feeds and everybody’s make-ups and breakups were instantly transmitted to their friends. I still remember the day when I vowed never to enter a relationship status on the site again, and I’ve kept that vow, with great benefit to my mental health. But in the pre-Facebook world, I never would have had to think about that in the first place. Nor would I have had to deal with friends calling me up when my exes changed their relationship statuses.
And of course, relationships are only the beginning. The gainfully employed must now carefully screen their photos — or tweak their privacy settings — such that their bosses can’t see them doing kegstands the night before they called in sick. And even the unemployed are not immune — they can at any time be called upon to delete their photos if they depict friends engaging in potentially fireable behavior. And even if you’re a privacy-settings wizard (like Anna Chapman), you still need to go through the process of deciding who gets to see you drunk, who gets to see you with your new boyfriend, who gets to know what you’re thinking about at 2 am — and, on the flipside, whose unfiltered life bullshit you want pushed at you in the form of feeds. It’s a whole new set of choices, and it doesn’t necessarily make life easier.
I’m not one of those Facebook refuseniks who hide in their social-networkless dens with only Twitter as a window to the outside world. I have successfully used Facebook to connect with old friends and even hang out with them in the real world. I appreciate the power of the Facebook invite (though for intimate parties I still prefer email). Most of all, I accept that Facebook has become an inextricable part of the social fabric of this country (and the world), and that it’s never going away. But some days I’d still rather go through airport security than use it.