Should Facebook Test New Features Differently?

Over the past few years, Facebook has introduced new elements to its platform that have made users angry and frustrated. From profile page redesigns, and News Feed interface updates, to the most recent addition of a “Promote Your Post for $7″ feature“. All of this begs the question: Why is Facebook pissing us off so much?

Why push out changes to a massive number of users, all at once, often with no warning? In this case, Facebook has been testing promoted posts for people in the United States and 20 other countries.

My suggestion: consider a “sunset” approach, where you incrementally roll out a new feature to small groups or segments of the userbase over time. Tweak and optimize the feature as you gather feedback. Or consider performing frequent A/B tests with small groups of users, as a way to try out lots of different ideas — and really take a data rich approach that way.

But purely from my perspective as a Facebook user, I feel yet again like I’ve just been pushed around, without any heads-up, or opportunity to provide feedback.