Late last night, the Facebook Beta app for Windows Phone received a significant update. One of the biggest changes is in regards to your default news feed, which now shows 'Top Stories' instead of 'Most Recent'. To be sure, Most Recent is still there, you just need to go to the hamburger button (upper right) and select it. However, this change will not remain when you restart the app, so you have to do it each time.
Undeniably, many of you are not happy with this change, because you would rather not even see Top Stories. So why did Microsoft change the app?
This is a Facebook thing, not Microsoft
First thing you should do is read Facebook's explanation of the differences between Top Stories and Most Recent, including how they determine what is 'Top' and why they are using this layout. You can find that article here.
Second thing we should note is that the Windows Phone Facebook Beta now matches those apps on Android, iOS, the web and even Windows 8.1.
Yes, all of those apps by default already show you Top Stories. In order to see Most Recent, you need to select it, often by going through the menu system. Granted, on the web version, it does stay as Most Recent – even if you log out – as opposed to switching back. Apps on iOS, Android, Windows 8.1 all revert to Top Stories upon closing or exiting the app.
Blame Facebook, not Microsoft
The message here is that the Windows Phone Beta version is merely catching up to those platforms, not setting precedent. Additionally, yes, the non-beta version of the Facebook app will also get these changes unless Facebook themselves change their policy.
None of this is new, either. Facebook announced and rolled out this feature way back when 'Party Rock Anthem' by LMFAO was the biggest hit on the radio (that'd be 2011, folks). The move even back then was controversial, as Facebook later let people set the default news feed on the web, but only after browser plugins flourished to 'hack' around it.
Mobile apps, though, are a different story. Facebook is evidently keen on keeping Top Stories, where they tend to insert paid advertising, as the default view. Instead, the user needs to switch views each time the app launches. This behavior is the same across iOS, Android and yes, now Windows Phone. In other words, all the haranguing in comments last night about how "stupid" Microsoft is really off the mark. This default view is a Facebook-mandated change.
From my experience, 9 times out of 10 when something is lame on Facebook, it is 100% Facebook's fault. Just face it, folks. It is the reason some of us refuse to use the social network monstrosity.
Either way, blaming Microsoft for instituting Facebook changes is going after the wrong culprit. Welcome to the world of Facebook, now get used to it, or grab a nice third-party app.