Facebook Admits Failure: It's Not Twitter

Yappy, chatty "real-time" feed abandoned in favor of filtered view

By Owen Thomas
|  Friday, Oct 23, 2009  |  Updated 2:00 PM PDT
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CEO Mark Zuckerberg has tacitly admitted defeat in his quest to copy Twitter.

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What are you doing? Even Facebook users don't care that much, it turns out.

Facebook has reversed a controversial redesign and gone back to its roots: Helping users figure out what their friends are up to.

The social network changed its homepage earlier this year to feature minute-by-minute status updates, in an imitation of Twitter, which displays a real-time stream of 140-character posts from its users, with no filtering or sorting.

Now Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has gotten over his Twitter envy. He tried to buy the hot San Francisco startup for a reported $500 million -- a deal Twitter rejected -- then ordered up the revamp.

Facebook now uses an algorithm to display the most interesting news, like relationship changes, photo postings, and event invitations, even if they're days old. Users had complained that important updates were getting drowned out by noisy real-time chatter.

There's still an option to view real-time updates. But why would they? If noise is what you're after, Twitter specializes in that.

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