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My gripes with the Facebook iPhone app

I use the Facebook iPhone app all the time, far more than I use the web site. The app is great, except for a couple flaws, one which I think is a major issue.

There is no way to block posts from other people like you can with the web site. I had this group “liked” called No Stressss, which had some cool stuff occasionally, but most of the time posts were made in Arabic and there would be 10 posts in a row, as if the person was copying-and-pasting and posting stuff rapid-fire. I blocked their posts from the web site, but they still show up on my phone, since the phone app doesn’t seem to follow the same post display rules as the web site does. Since I use Facebook on my phone more than I do the regular web site, I had to “unlike” them so the barrage of posts didn’t show up on my phone anymore. I didn’t understand how to unlike someone at first, especially since I wasn’t able to see their posts on the web site and you can’t hide posts from people from the phone app, so I had to type the name of the person and find the tiny “unlike” link on the left side to remove them.

That’s no so bad, I guess. There should be a way to block posts and like/unlike people from the phone. That’s not the most annoying issue though… I’ll read Facebook once or twice a day, at most. The way the news feed on the phone is set up is you scroll up and down a “page” of posts. If you pull the list down (scroll up) and then let go, you will refresh the list of posts. If you scroll to the bottom, there is a “Older Posts” button that, when clicked, loads the next page of results and appends it. Super simple, great UI design, and a three year old can figure it out. My gripe is with how arriving posts are handled. It seems the app either polls for new posts on a timer, or there’s a push notification sent when a new post has been posted. If you’re three pages deep, the app’s UI will block/freeze and the list will completely reset to the first page of posts. So, I’m reading a post from my cousin about fist pumping to Jersey Shore and just when I’m about to hit the reply button to call him a dirty little hamster, the UI blocks and the list resets about 5 seconds later.

Why does the list have to reset itself? Basically the list is a collection of posts ordered by date and time descending. Since it’s either polling for new posts or using a push notification to get new posts, why not just push the new results to the top of the stack rather than reset the whole list, so I don’t have to scroll down to the bottom of the list and click Older Posts three times to get back to where I was? If I close and re-open the app, the list can be reset then. I wouldn’t reset the list if the person closed or backgrounded the app within a few minutes.

The Facebook app is indispensable, and aside from these issues, is well designed. It just needs a little more polish to achieve greatness.

Summary:

Posts on phone do not adhere to ignore rules set up on the web site.
There is no way to block posts, or unlike people from the phone app.
When new posts arrive, the list resets itself to the first page, losing your current place.

One thought on “My gripes with the Facebook iPhone app

  1. I know what you mean. This is my biggest, most frustrating complaint. After it goes back up to the top, it’s really hard to find where you were. Makes me want to throw my phone against the wall.

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