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Facebook Users Express Strong “Dislike” of New Timeline Format

Throughout the leadup to the much publicized Facebook IPO, scheduled for this Friday, May 18th, Attensity has been using our Attensity Analyze social analytics application to track sentiment about the world’s largest social media network. Using Attensity Analyze, we processed 138,572 public comments posted on Facebook, Twitter and blogs over a six-week period. And in the course of our analysis, we stumbled on something interesting. (That’s one of the very cool things about Attensity Analyze, it makes it easy to discover valuable insights you weren’t necessarily looking for.)

Facebook Timeline Sentiment Analysis

While the buzz about the IPO is predictably mostly positive, sentiment about the new Timeline feature showed a very different reaction. In fact, the results show an overwhelming 96 percent of comments contain negative sentiment toward Timeline.  We were rather shocked at the degree of frustration expressed by Facebook users toward the new Timeline format, given that Facebook is still in the process of rolling out Timeline to individual users and the new format is not yet mandatory. (Although businesses were required to convert their profile pages to the new format in March).

Facebook Negative Timeline Details

As shown in the chart here, our analysis reveals not only strong negative sentiment, but many users mentioning their intent to “churn” or switch away from Facebook as a result of the  change. The most frequently appearing phrases in the posts are: “Delete FB Account”; “Hate New Timeline”; “Timeline Forced Changes”; “Switch to Other Social Network”; and “Will Delete FB.”

Facebook Timeline Feedback

During the research timeframe, many users indicated their intention to try competing social network Google+.

Will Facebook users follow through and really switch? Only time will tell. But with Facebook’s user base now almost 900 million strong, the company would do well to listen to its user community on this issue and address user concerns before the change becomes permanent.

To conduct its research, Attensity its Facebook Analytics Module, which enables business users to analyze publicly viewable Facebook comments, posts and surveys to extract deep business insights, along with its social media data feed which collects social conversations from over 150 million online and social sources, including the full Twitter Firehose, blogs, and other sources. For more examples of how Attensity analyzes social sentiment, download the Attensity eBook titled “CRM Use Cases from the Field.”