The Washington Post

Among Internet critics, Facebook Home may prove as divisive as Facebook itself

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg walks at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., Thursday, April 4, 2013. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

On Twitter, Reddit and (naturally) Facebook, users are dissecting the user interface and the privacy settings. They’ve rejoiced over Chatheads and whined about downloading glitches. And across all three platforms, many, many users have posted some variation of this phrase: “Installed Facebook Home. Uninstalled it 3 minutes later.”

That ambivalence might spring from the fact that Facebook Home represents a big change for Android users, whether they love the software or hate it. As The Post’s Hayley Tsukayama laid out in great, fascinating detail in her review of the software, Home basically hijacks the Android platform as users know it: They can’t truly customize the home screen, a big draw on Android phones, and the interface prioritizes Facebook updates over everything else.

“Facebook Home is tailored to please the most avid Facebook users,” Hayley wrote. And so, even the most discerning tech-users among us are divided.

In a thread on the Android subReddit — a.k.a. a forum for diehard Android fans — commenters seemed to love the Facebook messenger app update, and feel vaguely ambivalent about everything else.

“Chatheads in new messenger are great. It looks awesome and everything is smooth,” reads the most popular comment, which praises Chathead’s text message integration and design. “Definitely giving this some usage in the next couple of days.”

Michael Goodwin, Senior Partner for HTC, displays an HTC First cell phone wit the new Facebook interface at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., Thursday, April 4, 2013. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

On Twitter, the account Android Headlines, which tweets news for Android obsessives, asked followers if they’d downloaded the new software yet.

“I don’t mind it,” replied one man.

“Unless you spend all your time on Facebook it’s worthless,” wrote another.

Even the Google Play store can’t make up its mind. As of 5 p.m. Friday, the Facebook Home app had earned the perfectly middling score of 2.4 out of 5 with just over 750 reviews. There are, notably, far more one-star ratings than five-star ones, with most critics echoing the complaint that they like Facebook, but not enough to give their widgets and home screen over to it completely.

That kind of criticism might win out in the end. Per Android Police, a tech news blog, the software’s star-rating has only dropped lower since Facebook released the software around 2 p.m.

(Washington Post Co. chairman and chief executive Donald E. Graham is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.)

Caitlin Dewey is The Post’s digital culture critic. Follow her on Twitter @caitlindewey or subscribe to her daily newsletter on all things Internet. (



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