Facebook changes spark online complaints

Facebook users on Wednesday took to complaining about changes intended to make it easier to manage the torrents of updates from friends at the world's largest social network.

People vented ire in an array of online venues including a "Petition against the new Facebook homepage" at the social network and a Twitter stream tagged "#NewFacebook."

Some lamented that the latest Facebook changes were moves to be more like rival Google+ and hot text-message-based news-sharing service Twitter.

"#NewFacebook is like America," one Twitter user commented. "Plenty of people discontent(ed), but it's not like anyone is actually going to leave."

Facebook users are known for complaining fiercely about changes to the service but then adapting and sticking with the online community.

The backlash came a morning after Facebook began rolling out the latest in a rapid-fire series of enhancements in what founder Mark Zuckerberg referred to as a "launching season" for new features.

Facebook's "News Feed" that streams updates from friends now gives priority to important posts, images shared at the website are displayed larger, and a "Ticker" chat column was added for real-time conversations.

In recent weeks, Facebook has focused on ways for members to better control what information gets shared with whom.

Facebook last week began letting members follow strangers Twitter-style with the addition of "Subscribe" buttons that let people hear from people who aren't friends at the network, and share insights with strangers.

Facebook also began letting members be more selective about what kinds of updates from friends make it into their personal news feeds.

The "Ticker" chat panel in a right-hand column on the screen allows people to engage in text chats focused on freshly uploaded images or other posts.

More Facebook announcements are expected at the social network's annual developers conference in San Francisco on Thursday.

Speculation regarding what Facebook has in store at the gathering includes the launch of a platform for online music services such as Rdio and Spotify along with adding stories from professional news outfits.

The conference will come just days after Google dropped the need for an invitation to join the Internet giant's challenge to Facebook, Google+.

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