Losing Face(book)

Social networking and preciousness (click screen shots for larger images):

Definitely not cool enough

Apathy or indifference?  Always a close call.

Smart, but not smart enough

Maybe Facebook can divert some of its talent from ginning up yet more ads and figure out how to recognize an obscure browser like Firefox 3.


Like Christy and Manish, who commented, I’d been using Firefox 3 for some time.  The actual problem resulted from an upgrde to ZoneAlarm Security Suite, without which I wouldn’t turn on the computer.

From the start, I figured it was something like that.  What annoyed me more than the inability to get to Facebook, though, was the cutesy-smug style of the error message.

“Sorry, we’re not cool enough to support your browser.”  Ignoring the faux humility, the fact is that Facebook had no idea whatsoever what browser I was using.  Maybe a cookie needed to be reset; maybe some security level was too high.  Still, it’s usually better to realize you don’t know what you’re talking about — or at least to beat others to that conclusion.

As for “please keep it real?”  A minor irritation, like ham-handed attempts at humor in online learning.

Don’t try so hard, Facebook.

4 thoughts on “Losing Face(book)

  1. I’m sure based on their message that it was a browser detection thing. Obviously it failed, but if Zone Alarm was somehow disguising what browser you reported to them, why is that Facebook’s fault?

    I do think it’s obnoxious to completely block unsupported browsers though. I just saw a CSS/Javascript trick to make sites unusable in IE6 because developers want to force everyone to upgrade to IE7 (or whatever they support). I think it would be better customer service to simply allow the site to show and get as much as they can. If stuff doesn’t line up quite right or not all the functionality is there, well, then people can deal. They’ll complain, you can recommend an upgrade, etc. Then you don’t get the issues like this one in Facebook where people get blocked based on false alarms.

  2. It’s Facebook’s fault for pretending that I think my browser is “too cool” for them, when the reality was that they didn’t have a clue what browser I had.

    Far better to say something like “we can’t tell what browser you’re using. See (handy link to possible reasons and cures). We don’t want you to miss out on Facebook’s features.” But that wouldn’t be all hip or ironic or postmodern.

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