App of the Week: Is the Facebook App Getting Worse?

I've written here a number of times about Facebook and apps related to it. Most specifically, I wrote about how there are too many apps trying to do multiple jobs the single Facebook app is apparently incapable of handling correctly. But, I've also praised the social media giant for taking an interest in their mobile technology, something they neglected for a long time.

But, lately, I've wondered if they are neglecting the app again, maybe to focus on the handful of ancillary apps they've developed for chatting and photos. As I've used the Facebook app recently and as others have complained, I have to question whether things aren't getting worse for mobile users and Facebook.

Slow Loads

One of the more frustrating regressions is the ridiculously slow loading of friend pages and outside links. When trying to load these pages at random times, the process inches along at a snail's pace no matter if the device being used is on a wireless network or wi-fi. I've literally given up on pages that were loading, closed out of the app and come back hours later to find the page still open and thinking, "Oh right, I wanted to look at that...four hours ago."

When loading the site through a normal desktop browser, however, I rarely encounter the same slow loading which leads me to believe this is something Facebook does purposefully to better control bandwidth for all mobile devices. By slowing things down, it would likely average out performance across the entire mobile network. I don't know if that is indeed the case, but it would make sense given the site's relatively speedy load times through a browser.

Whatever the case, it makes it almost impossible to use a number of the more important functions of Facebook.

Who is that?

This is, without question, some sort of glitch, but it is nevertheless annoying. If you've ever looked through your news feed and seen the wrong profile images next to certain friends, this is what I'm talking about. Unfortunately, with so few updates to the app -- I can't remember the last one, to be honest -- it appears this is just being ignored.

I didn't ask for that!

Maybe worst of all is when pages you request are not loaded and others are loaded in their place. A good example of this is an event. Numerous times, I've attempted to load an event from a link in the news feed only to be directed to some other page. This also has happened when I've tried to get to my list of Pages only to be sent to a list of events.

This annoyance is a commonly recurring error and supremely frustrating.

The Verdict

Yes, it's probably silly to be arguing over the success or failure of an app for Facebook. The site itself doesn't always engender warm fuzzies. But, with a website and app as popular as this one, it only makes sense that it should be well managed and actually work.

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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke