Facebook Disables Options, Floods News Feed

The News Feed settings menu.
These Don’t Work Anymore

Facebook recently rolled out changes to its News Feed feature, making it controversial and difficult to use again.

  • When your friends click “Like” on an item posted by someone who is a stranger to you, that story is now added to your News Feed.
  • These “Like” stories now comprise the majority of News Feed items, flooding the home page with irrelevant images and branding.
  • The settings that were designed to remove these stories no longer work.

When I log in to Facebook now, I am bombarded by photographs posted by people I have never heard of in my life.  My friends are clicking the “Like” button on these photos, causing them to appear on my News Feed.

What this problem means for me is that even though my friends sometimes exercise good taste, we do not have the same taste.  The images in my News Feed now frequently contain profanity, political messages, corporate branding, and other unwanted or randomly useless information.

And it’s not just me.  The News Feed became such an annoyance yesterday that I wrote about it on my Facebook profile, which quickly received replies from friends having the same problem.

In the past, unwanted posts could be permanently blocked by adjusting the feed settings.  Now Facebook has gone too far.  They have broken all of the settings listed under “What types of updates” to receive from friends.  Even though I have “Comments and Likes” turned off for many of my friends, I am still getting a flood of their unwanted activity updates.

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SSDI Gone in Censorship Scandal

Massive Loss to Genealogists Everywhere

Screen shot of the SSDI website.
SSDI, Rest in Peace

In my ongoing research of personal genealogy and family history, I can honestly say that no single record set had been more valuable to me than the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) database that was freely available on the RootsWeb website.  I attributed no less than 193 individual citations to this database, just in my own family tree.

While conducting such research during this winter break, I was shocked to see this message appear on RootsWeb:

Due to sensitivities around the information in this database, the Social Security Death Index collection is not available.

I was further shocked to learn that this database take down was initiated by the United States Senate.  I cannot avoid decrying censorship.  The SSDI has become a national treasure of historical information, and to even propose blocking its public use is a violation of our guaranteed freedoms.

Continue reading SSDI Gone in Censorship Scandal